Second-year Cleveland Browns defensive end
He finished the year with the second-most sacks ever by a Browns rookie. His 8.5 sacks for 73.5 lost yards trailed only former Browns linebacker Kamerion Wimbley’s total of 11 during the 2006 season.
Despite the success, Sheard came back to Berea with a renewed sense of purpose. He has studied some of the league’s most well-known pass-rushers, including Indianapolis’ Dwight Freeney, and has worked to be considered among the best.
“You stay humble, always try to stay humble and stay level-headed and just work to get better,” Sheard said. “There are great D-ends out there that I want to be like, so I often just look at those guys. I’m nowhere near where those guys are, so that humbles me and keeps me pushing to get better.”
With his success on passing downs, Sheard has also made a commitment to be a stronger defender against the run.
While the Browns finished second in the league in pass defense last season, they ranked 30th against the run and allowed 147.4 rush yards-per-game. Sheard is working toward getting the Browns to be more balanced against the run and pass.
They will get the chance to work against one of the league’s most productive offenses in Thursday’s game with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
“I definitely want to stop the run,” Sheard said. “They’re more of a passing team, but who knows. They might come out and run the ball, so I definitely want to stop the run and then, get a chance to get after the quarterback.
“With us playing a lot more this week, I’ll get a better chance to pass rush and get after him a little bit and just get after the quarterback with all the guys up front. We’ve got a great secondary back there. We’re going against some great receivers and they’re a passing team, so there definitely should be a lot more passing and a better chance of getting to the quarterback.”
Sheard’s focus this week has been on “getting off the ball” and “getting off to a faster start” at the line of scrimmage. He has also become a leader for a defensive line that has incurred a rash of injuries to
Over the last week, Rubin has been able to resume his spot in the Browns’ rotation.
“Guys have to step up and make plays and just play hard,” Sheard said. “I’m going continue to do what I do on my end and just do my job and that’s football. Every year, somebody goes down. You can never really count on someone every game, but those guys are fighting to get back and hopefully, they’ll be back (quickly).
“It gets difficult. Guys are a bit nervous and usually, you’ve got that family and you could just depend on somebody else; you could depend on the guy behind you and sometimes, it gets in guys’ heads where they’re trying to do the other person’s job, but you’ve just got to do your job.”