BEREA, Ohio — The return of Ahtyba Rubin to the practice field was a sight for sore eyes — at least for the defense and the defensive coaching staff.
After already losing two key components to the defense, Phil Taylor (pectoral tear) and most recently Chris Gocong (Achilles) on Saturday, the defense needed some positive news.
“It’s great to be out there with my teammates, put a contribution in, get to run around and have fun,” Rubin said. “I’m pretty sure I’ll probably be in the game Friday. I don’t feel any limitations.
“I don’t feel bad or nothing like that. I feel 100 percent, so I’m ready to go.”
Rubin (6-foot-2, 330 pounds) is a mainstay for the line in his fifth year after registering a career-best 83 tackles with five sacks in 2011. The Browns were 30th against the run, allowing 147.4 yards per game last season.
Pat Shurmur was asked if Rubin was out of shape or too heavy after missing practices.
“No, his weight is fine,” he said. “I was near him a couple of times (at practice Tuesday) and interacted with him and he’s a very large man, but he’s fit.”
While Taylor recovers from his pectoral muscle injury, rookies John Hughes and Billy Winn are expected to hold down the fort, along with veteran Scott Paxson.
Taylor was expected to miss close to the first half of the season and he was asked Tuesday as he came off the field if that was realistic.
“Yeah,” he said.
There were some reports that he might be able to come back earlier after six games.
“I don’t have a timetable.”
Hughes was listed on the first depth chart as the starter, opposite of Rubin, but Shurmur said to not read much into it.
“He’s going to play in there,” Shurmur said. “I wouldn’t be too concerned with the depth chart right now.”
Shurmur said Winn and Hughes complement each other well.
“I wouldn’t paint (those guys) into the run stopper (Hughes)/ pass rusher (Winn) box yet, just because (Winn) has quickness.”
The Browns are hoping Rubin can set a positive example for the young players by his hustle and determination.
“Billy has quick feet and is explosive and John, he’s just a strong anchor in the middle,” Rubin said. “If they can put both of their games together and find a way to jell, it’ll be a great thing for the defensive line.”
Rubin started 32 games in the last two seasons and has established himself as one of the best players on the team. Some felt he played at near a Pro Bowl level last season.
“I just wanted to come out and show my guys that I support them,” Rubin said. “I’m here and I want to make something happen this year and try to be the leader on the D-line.”
Richardson Out?: RB Trent Richardson was on the exercise bike during practice with a knee injury.
Shurmur called it a ‘sore knee’. He said they will evaluate him further after practice. Shurmur as asked if he would play against the Lions Friday.
“It might affect Friday,” he said. “There’s a chance he won’t play.”
Shurmur was asked if he was concerned about Richardson.
“You’re always concerned about injuries,” he said. “He has been practicing well.”
Richardson was wearing a sleeve on his left leg. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in February.
Colt’s Comments: Shurmur was asked about QB Colt McCoy saying he didn’t get an opportunity to compete.
“All the quarterbacks have had an opportunity to show us what they can do,” he said.
Shurmur didn’t sound upset in McCoy’s comments.
“You’re talking to a competitor and he’s disappointed he’s not the starter,” he said. “I didn’t tell him what to say. He expressed his feelings.”
MoMass Praised: Shurmur singled out WR Mohamed Massaquoi as the receiver who has stood out the most to him.
“The guy who looks totally different to me is Mo,” Shurmur said. “He’s done a fantastic job in camp. He has the right mindset and has been a very focused guy.”
Mitchell Back: WR Carlton Mitchell was back practicing for the first time since training camp began. He has a lot of ground to make up with rookie WR Josh Gordon and WR Travis Benjamin.
“For him to catch up, he’s got to stay healthy, catch up and make some plays (when he plays),” Shurmur said. “Any time you miss a lot of practice time, you miss opportunities to be evaluated.”
Mitchell missed most of last preseason after having surgery on his finger and never was able to get on the field until late in the season. This year, he is battling for a roster spot.
Injury Update: Not practicing were: LB Marcus Benard, TE Ben Watson, DB Usama Young, FB Eddie Williams and DE Frostee Rucker. Benard left Monday’s practice with the trainers for unknown reason.
Shurmur said last week that Williams would be out for a while but did not disclose the ailment. Williams tweeted on Tuesday “Down 13 lbs in 11 days #grind lol”.
For Starters: The first depth chart released for week one’s preseason game is as follows:
Offense-- QB—Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, Thaddeus Lewis;RB—Trent Richardson, Montario Hardesty, Brandon Jackson, Chris Ogbonnaya, Adonis Thomas;WR—Greg Little, Josh Gordon, Joshua Cribbs, Carlton Mitchell, Owen Spener, Jermaine Saffold ;LT—Joe Thomas, Oneil Cousins, Jeff Shugarts; LG—Jason Pinkston, Jarrod Shaw, Matt Cleveland;C—Alex Mack, John Greco, Garth Gerhart;RG—Shawn Lauvao, Dominic Alford, Stanley Daniels; RT—Mitchell Schwartz, Ryan Miller, Jake Anderson;TE—Ben Watson, Jordan Cameron, Alex Smith, Evan Moore, Dan Gronkowski; WR—Mohamed Massaquoi, Travis Benjamin, Jordan Norwood, Josh Cooper, Rod Windsor, Bert Reed; FB—Owen Marecic, Brad Smelley.
Defense-- LE—Jabaal Sheard, Juqua Parker, Brian Sanford, William Green; DT—Ahtyba Rubin, Billy Winn; DT—John Hughes, Scott Paxson, Brian Schaefering, Kiante Tripp; RE—Frostee Rucker, Emmanuel Stephens, Marcus Benard, Auston English; SLB—Scott Fujita, James-Michael Johnson, Emmanuel Acho; MLB – D’Qwell Jackson, Benjamin Jacobs, L.J. Fort; WLB—Kaluka Maiava, Craig Robertson, Quinton Spears, JoJo Dickson; LCB—Joe Haden, Buster Skrine, Trevin Wade, Johnson Bademosi; RCB—Sheldon Brown, Dimitri Patterson, James Dockery, Antwuan Reed; FS—Eric Hagg, Ray Ventrone, Tashaun Gipson;SS—T.J. Ward, Usama Young, David Sims, Emanuel Davis.
Specialists--P—Reggie Hodges, Spencer Lanning;K—Phil Dawson, Jeff Wolfert;H—Reggie Hodges; PR—Josh Cribbs, Travis Benjamin, Jordan Norwood; KR—Josh Cribbs, Buster Skrine, Travis Benjamin; LS—Christian Yount.
Practice Moves: Shurmur moved practice from the morning to the afternoon so he and several former Eagle coaches and front office members could attend the funeral for Andy Reid’s son, Garrett, who died earlier this week. The practice was scheduled to be at 2 p.m., but had to be moved to 2:30 p.m. for the coaches to get back on time. Shurmur cut off practice about 45 minutes early.
“We had practice later as we were delayed in Philadelphia,” he said. “Some of the guys are getting camp legs. It’s about the time with 4 ½ weeks before the first game.”
Quick Hits: QB Colt McCoy was back taking reps with second team… McCoy took his first reps of training camp with the first team…McCoy was intercepted by rookie DB Trevin Wade in 7-on-7 drills…QB Brandon Weeden hit WR Greg Little on a deep sideline pass in team drills and hit TE Jordan Cameron deep over the middle for a score…WR Josh Gordon dropped a pass through his hands on a pass from Weeden over the middle.
Family Night: The Browns will have a Family Night at Cleveland Browns Stadium Wednesday night from 7-8:30 p.m. Admission is free.
“It will be a fun event,” Shurmur said. “It will be a great opportunity for fans to watch us work and an opportunity for the rookies to go down to the stadium.”