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Defensive line continues to get healthy

Posted Nov 24, 2012

Defensive tackles Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor played side-by-side for the first time this season against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday.

The Cleveland Browns had yet to play with their full complement of defensive linemen, particularly, the tackles, until last Sunday afternoon against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium.

Despite the 23-20 loss in overtime, tackles Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor played side-by-side for the first time since the team’s 13-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2011 regular-season finale at Cleveland Browns Stadium. With Rubin working through a calf injury and Taylor playing in his second game since suffering a torn pectoral muscle in an offseason workout, the Browns generated seven sacks against Tony Romo of the Cowboys.

Five of the sacks were collected by defensive linemen, including Rubin’s second of the season.

“I think it had some impact inside. It didn’t change their protection schemes,” defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. “Phil and Rube are good players. They are big, strong, physical players inside too, which helped us.

“Sometimes, those things happen, where we really needed to get that kind of pressure on this guy, because he was a very talented quarterback. Their skill people are extremely talented down there. We needed all of that to keep it close.”

Browns coach Pat Shurmur added that having Taylor and Rubin back in the middle of the team’s defensive line helped with a rotation that also featured rookies Billy Winn, John Hughes and Ishmaa’ily Kitchen at the tackle spots.

“Generally speaking, for the defensive line, run or pass, I think when you have two guys who were our starters last year back in the mix, you saw the impact it can have when you watch the competition up front against Dallas,” Shurmur said. “We found a way with a good mix of guys in there, including (Taylor and Rubin), to get pressure on the quarterback. The run game, for the most part, didn’t break out on us and when you put those guys back in there, it helps not only when they’re in there, but it also helps the rotation with the other guys.

“What happens with the pass rush, in my opinion, when you have big, physical guys, one of the most damaging things about a pass rush is a push in the quarterback’s face because when it collapses in front of him that’s what restricts a quarterback’s vision more than what they know is happening off the edges, so it all fits together.”

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