Browns young rushers need to step up quickly

With the departure of Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo, the Browns are counting on their young pass rushers to step up sooner than later.

BEREA, Ohio--Two players brought to the Browns for their ability to rush the passer are now gone.

Former sixth pick in the draft, Barkevious Mingo was traded last week and Paul Kruger was released Monday. Now, the attention will be focused on several other players who were brought in for the potential to rush the passer--with emphasis on potential.

Nate Orchard, Emmanuel Ogbah, Joe Schobert and Cam Johnson are next up to provide the Browns a pass rush, but all totaled have just three sacks among them at the NFL level--all by Orchard.

Orchard says the players left--although not experienced--are more than capable of getting to the quarterback. The Browns had no sacks in the third preseason game loss to Tampa Bay, but Orchard says that will be fixed.

"It's a process," Orchard said. "We have guys that are very, very capable of making it back there," Orchard said before practice Monday. "It's little things. It's about angles.  It's a game about angles and taking the right lanes. There are so many times we were right there and we just couldn't bring (the quarterback) down. It's just little things that we need to take care of and at the end of the day I know we'll be a successful defense."

Orchard and Ogbah are expected to be the starters when the season opens at outside linebacker.

“At the end of the day, we have a lot of guys up front that can make big plays, especially in that outside linebacker room," Orchard said. "Whether or not (Ogbah) is going to be there – that is the coaches’ decision – but no matter where he ends up on the defense, whether it’s D-end or outside linebacker, he is going to do some great things.”

Orchard, in just his second season, is confident he and the rest of the veterans will make the necessary impact in leadership on the defensive side of the ball.

"At the end of the day, we have guys that will step up," Orchard said. "We have our inside linebacker Demario Davis, who has done an phenomenal  job of leading us, Joe Haden on the outside and myself in the outside linebacker room and take leadership."

Orchard was drafted in the second-round (51st overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft after posting 18.5 sacks in his final season in college.  He started 11 games and had 36 tackles, including three sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and four passes broken up. Orchard started to blossom late in the season as he picked up all three of his sacks in the final four games.

Ogbah was drafted at the top of the second-round (32nd overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was projected to be an outside linebacker, but was moved during training camp to defensive end due to injuries to Desmond Bryant and the absence of John Hughes for personal reasons. Ogbah had 13 sacks last season at Oklahoma State.

Orchard thinks he and Ogbah can continue to put up numbers at the NFL level.

“Yeah, definitely," he said. "Once you have success in college, coming into the league obviously guys are a lot bigger and faster, but at the end of the day, where you come from is who you are. You just need to continue to build upon that.

"You are going to have to fine tune techniques and things like that, but that is something you should not look away from and shy away from, even if you have a season with three sacks like myself and wanting to have more," he said. "I know I can keep getting better and keep building upon that.”

 Ogbah says he's been moved back to outside linebacker and doesn't think he will have a tough adjustment.

"Like I said before, I was actually still studying the plays, so it won’t be that hard of a transition to go back to outside linebacker," Ogbah said. "Cause I also played in a game at outside linebacker too."

Ogbah knows the burden is on the young players to step up and provide the pass rush the Browns defense needs.
"Oh, yeah, definitely," he said. "I’ve definitely looked at it and noticed that, too. But, we’re all here for a reason, to come help change this program."
 Schobert, who was drafted in the fourth-round from Wisconsin (99th overall) thinks he's ready to contribute after getting his feet wet in the preseason.
"I'm just here to do my job," Schobert said. "Without Paul, there are going to be more opportunities for all the guys in the room. I'm just going to do my best to fill that space."

Schobert thinks he's improved in pass coverage, as well as in rushing the passer.

"I just want to go in and play my game," Schobert said. "I think I can do a lot of good things in pass coverage and pass rush, different things, maybe a little change up of what the other guys on the team do. I'm just going to go in there and do my best. I'm confident in my abilities."

Schobert says he is grasping the defensive concepts and he is able to react to what's going on without having to think about it.

"Mostly for me, I just wanted to limit mental errors, technique errors on the field," he said. "Once you can eliminate those you can play faster and recognize what the offense is trying to do to you and you don't have to worry about your job and in that respect, I think I've improved a lot and it has helped my play."

Johnson has flashed during the preseason after spending most of the 2015 season on the Browns practice squad. He did play in one game and had three tackles. 

Extra Points

K'Waun Gone: The Browns have released DB K'Waun Wlliams and now the roster is at 75 players.

The NFL Network first reported the move.

Hue Jackson confirmed the move has been made, but wouldn't elaborate on the decision.

"That's accurate," Jackson said."I don't want to elaborate on that but we had to get down to 75."

Williams did not play in the first preseason game because he said he was injured and reportedly left the team for a second opinion on his ankle. The Browns suspended him for two weeks for violating team rules.

Williams made the Browns as an undrafted free agent 2014 and had 69 tackles in two seasons with 8 passes broken up. He had multiple concussions that limited his action.

Murray Wins K Job: With the release of K Travis Coons, it appears that barring injury, K Patrick Murray has won the kicking job.

"He's our kicker," Jackson said. "We're moving forward with him."

“First and foremost, it’s an honor to represent this organization and this city," Murray said. "It’s an honor to play for the Cleveland Browns, and I’m just really looking forward to continuing in representing this organization well.”

 Murray said he took advantage of his opportunities in the training camp and the preseason.

"I can only speak on the fact that I was able to do what I had to do during practice," Murray said. "I don't make the decisions, but I just tried to put my best foot forward and that's what i did."

Murray was the Buccaneer's kicker as a rookie in 2014 and hit 20-of-24 field goals and all 31 of his extra point attempts. However, he suffered an ACL tear in 2015 and missed the regular season. When Tampa Bay drafted a kicker in the second round, Murray was released. 

Murray said he's learned from the 2015 season to savor the chance to play in the NFL.

"I learned to never take an opportunity for granted, first and foremost and really appreciate every kick as if it was going to be your last because you never know when that opportunity is gong to be taken away," Murray said. "I feel that is what steeled my motivation to just continue to get better every day."

Murray played collegiately at Fordham and made 38-of-54 field goal attempts in his career, earning first team All-American as a senior making 25-of-30 attempts in his final year.

Murray converted on his field goal attempts thus far in the preseason, hitting a 46-yard attempt and a 35-yard attempt last week against Tampa Bay.

Coons made 28-of-32 field goal attempts in his rookie season with the Browns, but all four of his misses were blocked. Coons missed an extra point attempt against the Falcons last week.

Louis, Caldwell Back: Two of the 2016 draft picks were back practicing after both missing extended time with hamstring injuries. Third-round pick WR Ricardo Louis and seventh-round pick DB Trey Caldwell both were back on the field after missing the first three preseason games.

Gilbert, Moore, Mostert Out: DB Justin Gilbert was not on the field during  the open media session after suffering a concussion against Tampa Bay. WR Marlon Moore (hip) and RB Raheem Mostert (hamstring) were on the side with the training staff. 


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