Second-year Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor is practicing for the second consecutive week since suffering a torn pectoral muscle in the offseason and beginning the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Taylor’s return has increased the team’s depth at defensive tackle and puts him in the mix with rookies
“It’s great to have Phil back practicing,” Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. “As of now, he’ll certainly rotate into that game and we’ll see how much he can go. We don’t want to overdo it. He’s had two weeks of work and it’s been a long season. He’ll definitely work in and we’re really excited about seeing him back.
“We’ve talked about John and Billy and what a nice job they have done. Phil is really a good player and we drafted John and Billy to kind of back up Rubin and Phil. Losing Phil was a tough one, but it’s given those two young guys a lot more experience, brought them along a lot quicker. Once Phil gets back into it and we get Rube back, I think we’ll have a really good inside rotation.”
The 6-foot-3, 335-pound Taylor was an All-Rookie selection in 2011. He registered four sacks and totaled 59 total tackles in 16 starts at defensive tackle next to Rubin. He also forced a fumble and defended one pass.
“Phil is a giant man and a good athlete and at the end of last season, was playing at a high level,” Jauron said. “We do expect a lot of him, but it’s not an easy thing to come back at this point and play at that same level right away. I think it’s going to take some time for him to work back into it. Anytime you lose a player, certainly a starter, it impacts everything. It will impact you along the way.”
Taylor returned to the field the week the Browns limited the San Diego Chargers to 265 yards and two field goals in over 30 minutes of possession. Under the direction of coach Pat Shurmur and Jauron, Taylor and the defense have spent the week preparing for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“We’re going to watch him play,” Shurmur said of Taylor. “I’ll keep my eye on him, just like I watch Trent. We’ll keep an eye on him, see how he’s doing. We have enough coaches where we can track how he’s playing, how much he’s playing and how he’s feeling.”
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