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Armonty Bryant shines in Detroit


DETROIT -- Armonty Bryant was a catalyst for the Cleveland Browns' defensive success in Saturday night's preseason-opener against the Detroit Lions.

Last year's seventh-round pick from East Central University in Oklahoma has taken tremendous strides in his game as a pass-rusher.

Outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo got credit for sacking Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky in the first quarter, but it was spurred by Bryant's bull rush right up the middle. The 24-year-old Bryant also added a tackle for a loss and this bone-crushing hit.

Bryant was mainly a special teams player in 2013, but did post two sacks in limited game action. Clearly, his improvements are screaming for more time on the defensive line rotation.

"Not just me, everyone was trying to be aggressive and prove we can be a dominant defense in this league," said Bryant in the locker room following the game. "I'm just trying to be relentless on the field."

Bryant attributed some of his success on Saturday to the defensive scheme in general. On several plays, the Browns sent nickel backs Isaiah Trufant and Aaron Berry on blitzes from the edge and even dropped defensive ends in coverage. Cleveland's defense is out of the ordinary. Outside of the New York Jets, there aren't many schemes that compare to the Browns'.

Head coach Mike Pettine and defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil like to move their defensive linemen all over the line of scrimmage. Bryant (6-foot-4, 265 pounds) was a defensive end coming out of college, but is actually thriving as a defensive tackle in the middle. Nearly every other interior Browns lineman is either close to 300-pounds, or well over it. Bryant's unique power for his lengthy frame makes him a special piece in the defensive rotation.

While Bryant was excited with how he played against Detroit, he knows it's the preseason. Every good and bad play must be taken with a grain of salt.

"We'll see, I would love to be a big part of this defense," Bryant said. "As everything goes on, I'm still learning more about the system. Hopefully the improvements keep happening." 

One thing is becoming visible: Bryant's much closer to pushing for a starting spot than he is to being placed on the special teams unit.

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