It's hard to have a better debut than Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah had last week in Jacksonville.
The second-round pick out of Notre Dame racked up eight tackles, three of which went for a loss, and collected his first sack. He was a non-stop source of energy on a Browns defense that kept Jacksonville scoreless through the game's first three quarters.
Owusu-Koramoah, though, has spent the days since identifying how he could have done even better. That's the mindset he'll be taking into Sunday's preseason game against the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Owusu-Koramoah after his final practice of the week.
CB.com: You had a big preseason debut last week in Jacksonville. What are you looking for in this second one against the Giants?
JOK: Just looking to execute on the things I did wrong or the things I did incorrectly. I went back and watched film and went to the drawing board to not make the same mistake twice. I'm just looking to correct those mistakes.
CB.com: To the naked eye, it didn't look like you did anything wrong that night with eight tackles, three tackles for a loss and a sack. What were the things you identified that you can do better?
JOK: Just fundamentals. I need to make sure my eyes are on the man and that I'm disciplined, not seeing too much. I need to make sure my alignments and my drops are right. It's just trying to get the fundamentals down pat.
Check out photos from the second day of joint practices with the Giants at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus
CB.com: One of things a lot of people noticed when you're on the field is just the energy level you bring. For the folks the didn't watch Notre Dame much, is this just something that's always been with your game, and why do you utilize that.
JOK: Yeah, absolutely. I really just try to be an anchor. The energy I bring isn't just for me — it's for the whole team and for the whole defense. Our model in the linebacker room is run, shed and tackle the guy with the ball. So when we're talking about running and talking about shedding (blocks) and tackling the guy with the ball, it's all to generate energy. We think of that as one of our most key things in this defense, and I'm ultimately trying to be an anchor for them.
CB.com: Is that something you've always had going back to your Pee Wee days, or is it something you've developed into with the high energy and impact on the field?
JOK: Yeah, probably since Pee Wee days. Just the celebrations is always something you looked up to. It's not to celebrate in a way where you get flagged, but it's the celebrations with your teammates and the guys you've gone to war with day in and day out.
CB.com: It's been a tough week injury-wise to the linebackers position. What kind of strain does that put on you, or what opportunities lie ahead with the amount of reps you're probably going to get?
JOK: I think you almost answered the question. You said first "strain," and then you said "opportunity." We don't look at it as strain. We look at it as opportunity. When we're going back and looking at the room and seeing who's available, there's a lot of opportunities for guys to step up. That's what the NFL is. Some guys may go down, but other guys will step up. It's all about the rotation and about motivation for us all. Hopefully those guys get back soon and our prayers are with them, but they're still with us and still helping out with the playbook.
CB.com: What did you see out there in your first joint practice with the Giants, and what experience is it to go against another team in practice?
JOK: Yeah you look at it as a game, at least I did, in terms of just showing myself continuously. The best always wants to go against the best. We're in a league where every team has the best players, so you always want to look for that new challenge and that new opportunity to just show yourself. It's been a good opportunity.
CB.com: How much of a change of pace was it, though? You guys were in the dog days of camp and then all of a sudden they come to town, and it really livened up the atmosphere.
JOK: Yeah, it did liven it up. We were live already. As you can see (Thursday), we played really well. There were a lot of mistakes, but there were a lot of things we did well. With new competition coming, we definitely have to bring that same energy. We have to be the same people every day when those guys come in here. This is still our home, those things are to take into consideration. I think we did well yesterday.
CB.com: We're seeing guys like Greg Newsome II make plays in practice, and Demetric Felton is getting the ball in his hands. What is it about this rookie class where you guys have been able to come in and make this impact?
JOK: First and foremost, we're close. I was sitting in the locker room playing this knockout game with the rookies before I walked over here. We're a close group, and we're talking about playing on the field and the things we must do to stay close. If one of us drops — it possibly can be released or someone can be put on IR — but we have to meet the standards that are upon us and step up to the plate.
CB.com: What's it like for you as a rookie being on the field with guys like Malik Jackson, who's been on the field for 10 years, and guys Myles Garrett and all that experience around you? How big of a change is that from what you experienced at the college level?
JOK: The experience is the change. In college, you're playing with guys who have played football for a while, but not at the highest level. These guys have played a tremendous amount of football at the highest level, which has translated to the younger guys as well. The other role players, those guys have to step up as well, so that experience definitely helps.
CB.com: You got a taste of it at the Orange & Brown Practice at FirstEnergy Stadium, but what do you think about going into your first official game at your home stadium?
JOK: I expect it to be lively. I expect it to be really loud, even though it's a preseason game. We have some of the best fans out here, as you may know. You can just see the energy through messages. You can see the energy through commentators and things like that. I expect it to be live and I expect it to be a good atmosphere, but you still got to focus on your job and focus on those things that are important at that specific time. When you're in the game, the thing that's important is to execute.
CB.com: Did you ever expect the fans to get excited over what you were able to do in a preseason game? What's that been like to hear from all these Browns fans?
JOK: Yeah, I didn't expect it to that excited. Preseason means a lot, but I was just trying to play the game of football. You never truly expect that kind of reaction, but it was welcoming and warming. Slightly overwhelming as well, but overwhelming is good, especially when you're trying to get into the flow of things.