The Browns plan on getting back a pair of starting defenders this weekend in Oakland.
Coach Hue Jackson said linebacker Christian Kirksey (shoulder/ankle) and defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle) are on track to play against the Raiders on Sunday after missing the past two weeks with injuries.
“They practiced today so that’s encouraging,” Jackson said Wednesday. “We’ll see how it goes after practicing today, but they were definitely practicing so that’s a good thing.”
Ogbah, who told reporters he plans to play this weekend, suffered an ankle sprain in the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers while Kirksey missed the first and second games of his five-year career with the Browns.
Without them, Cleveland’s defense has still managed to emerge as one of the league’s top units. It forced three turnovers in Thursday night’s win over the Jets and held New York to 268 total yards.
Before that, the Browns held the high-powered Saints to 275 yards and forced another two takeaways. They lead the NFL with 11 turnovers forced.
Kirksey and Ogbah should only add to what’s been an impressive start for the unit.
“It was definitely tough, but I believe in those guys,” Ogbah said of his absence. “Next man up philosophy, that’s what this defense is about.
“They stepped up and made big plays when they needed to.”