Sheard gets familiar with system

Posted Jun 5, 2012

Second-year Browns defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard appreciates the offseason time he has had to work with the coaches and his teammates.

Sixteen starts, a team-leading 8.5 quarterback sacks and 55 total tackles.

All of those came from Cleveland Browns defensive end Jabaal Sheard without the benefit of an offseason due to a work-stoppage last spring. Now in his second year, Sheard has enjoyed the extra time working out with his teammates and learning the 4-3 defense from coordinator Dick Jauron during the offseason.

“I’m getting to know the plays more,” Sheard said. “Last year, at this time, I had no idea, no plays. I wasn’t in a minicamp. I went into camp and I had no idea what I was doing, so I got a grasp for it. I know more where I’m supposed to fit in this defense and am just learning.”

Sheard has already seen a difference in the way he and his teammates operate when they are on the field at practice or studying plays in the film room.

“I think we already bonded more,” Sheard said when comparing the team in his first two NFL seasons. “I feel like I know these guys well. We know each other; we know how each other plays and where each other’s going to fit. That’s a big part, when you’re on the field, knowing how somebody else plays and where they’re going to fit. You can feed right off of it.”

Sheard joined fellow first-year Browns lineman Phil Taylor and veteran Ahtyba Rubin on the line of scrimmage for all 16 games last year. Taylor and Sheard, All-Rookie Team selections by Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America, were the first rookie tandem to start all 16 games together on a defensive line since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers accomplished the same feat in 1992.

Although Taylor is expected to miss part of the 2012 season with a pectoral injury, the Browns have no shortage of defensive linemen to use in the rotation.

Through this past April’s Draft, the Browns selected Cincinnati’s John Hughes in the third round and later used a sixth-round compensatory selection on Billy Winn from Boise State University.

“They’re both playing well,” Sheard said of Winn and Hughes. “They’re learning how to use their hands, but they’re getting the plays and they’re moving fast and they look like they can play. I’ve been talking to them. They get to know the plays and they’ve been getting extra work with Big Rubin after practice. I see them on the field and watching film and they look fast and I want to see them when the pads come on.”

In addition to the draft picks, the Browns added veteran defensive ends Juqua Parker and Frostee Rucker through free agency, something Sheard has enjoyed during the OTAs and minicamp.

“I’m very impressed,” Sheard said of the veteran presence of Rucker and Parker. “Those guys are talking in the film room on my things I’ve messed up on last year. They’re helping me on the field and off the field. I’m excited about how they can help me and how we can get a great rotation going.”

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