Fifth-year Cleveland Browns defensive lineman
Rubin first replaced the veterans on the field with his solid play and now, has taken up the role of leader in the huddle and meeting rooms.
“I’ve got to kind of be that guy and show the way for our younger guys,” Rubin said. “It’s new to me, so I’m kind of picking up that role and I’m happy to be that guy. I feel like this year, I’m becoming more of a leader, especially for our younger guys, showing them the ropes and helping them out with any questions that they have. I’m happy about being in that position.
“I just feel like I have to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m more comfortable now in trying to take that position of being a leader, so I can see myself having the younger guys run around and do a lot more stuff. They’re picking it up and listening to me, so I’m happy about that.”
Rubin led a young defensive line in 2011.
Bookended by rookies in tackle Phil Taylor and end
“He doesn’t have to be vocal to lead,” said defensive coordinator Dick Jauron. “I don’t think there’s anybody on this football team that doesn’t have total respect for Rube. I just want him to be himself and keep playing how he plays. I’d rather have it by example. If you had both, it would be okay, but I’d prefer example, forever.”
Second-year Browns coach Pat Shurmur said Rubin has been effective for the defense -- even with a switch from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 alignment -- because “he has very good instincts” and “knows how to play blocks” on the interior of the defensive line.
“Being a 3-4 nose tackle, you get used to feeling the leverage of one player and now, we’ve kind of got him set up in more of a one-gap type of alignment,” Shurmur said. “That helps him feel if he’s getting down-blocked or reached or slipped or double-teamed. That’s first and foremost, winning those battles in your own, little world. He also is a guy that once he separates from the block or defeats the block, he can make a play, which is important. Because he’s a good player, even though he doesn’t say much, there’s some natural leadership there that I think the rest of the team appreciates.”
Rubin, who received a long-term extension from the team last year, is working toward turning that “natural leadership” Shurmur spoke of into one thing this upcoming season: victories for the team.
“I really feel like I’m pushing for more wins and that contract situation is behind me,” Rubin said. “I’m here with the Browns and I’m happy to be here. I’m really trying to push for more wins this year. Really, it started just the other day. We won the game and hopefully, it’s contagious and we keep winning more games as we go on through the season.”