After missing two preseason games and the regular-season opener against the Miami Dolphins with a bruised lung, Cleveland Browns rookie outside linebacker
“It’s very exciting,” Mingo said. “I’ve been waiting. I watched last week, and I just wanted to get out on the field. Now, this is the week I can do that, so I’m hoping I get the chance to go out there and play. I feel better knowing that I’m able to play if I’m called upon.
“It was tough sitting down there and watching. You want to be out there. You want to be able to help the team win. I feel like I could’ve done that, but we just fell short. I just wanted to be out there.”
According to coach Rob Chudzinski, Mingo will play on defense and special teams if he is active for the game.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing him out on the field and certainly, we’ll welcome him back,” Chudzinski said. “We don’t have a set snap number. We’ll work him in there and see how things go as the game progresses.”
“I’m just ready to play,” Mingo said. “Hit, no hit, tackle, sack, it doesn’t matter. I’m just ready to get back on the field. It’s up to the coaches. If I’m ready for this week and I’m practicing well and they think I can help the team win, then, hopefully, they let me play.”
During the week of practice, the Browns’ goal was to evaluate Mingo and see if he could be ready for Sunday’s road game against the reigning Super Bowl-champion Ravens. The plan was “to ease him in,” according to defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
“Obviously, the first-round pick, you want him on the field as much as you can,” Horton said. “It’s going to be what he can handle. I also want to realize that he’s only played I think seven plays total in the NFL, so I don’t just want to throw him in there and say, ‘Go.’ I want to eliminate the error factor by calling a different game.
“I want to let him go, make his errors, make his plays and I’ll find out what he does well and what he doesn’t. I don’t want to overload him his first game, but I also want to give him some soft pitches to hit. I want to give him less thinking and more react-type stuff.”
In Mingo’s absence, the Browns registered four sacks of Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill. All four of those sacks were from first-year Browns, two from defensive end
“They got after it,” Mingo said. “Jabaal (Sheard), Q, Paul, Des, they made the plays, but just fell short. Every day, they’ve always come over and asked me how I’m doing and asked if I’ve watched this play and, ‘Watch this play.’ They’re just trying to keep me sharp and up-to-date on the information that’s going in.
“I feel I bring a lot to this team and the coaches can use me in different ways. I think that’s the best part about it. I’m ready to get it done, and just ready to play.”
KRUGER ADDS LEADERSHIP
During the offseason, the Browns added former Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger to their defense. While he made an on-the-field impact in last week’s loss to the Dolphins, with seven tackles and one sack, Kruger has made an even bigger one in the meeting and locker rooms.
“We’re awfully glad to have Paul here, and he’s been a lot more than a player for us,” Chudzinski said. “He’s a leader and a guy our players really respect and look up to. Certainly, we’re needing him to have a good game this week.”
FILLING THE GAP
For the second straight game, the Browns will play without the services of second-year wide receiver
“We need them to step up and are expecting them to step up,” Chudzinski said. “I know a lot of those guys want to be better and get better, and have during the course of this week in practice. I think they’re dialed in and ready to do that.”