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Browns ready to see what Nate Orchard can do in debut

Nate Orchard's Week 1 absence was a product of caution and the numbers game on a largely healthy Cleveland Browns roster.

Week 2 promises to be much, much different for the Browns' second-round pick from Utah.

Orchard's back injury, which also sidelined him for the final two preseason games, is a thing of the past. Additionally, and perhaps more impactful toward how many snaps Orchard plays Sunday against the Titans, starter Scott Solomon will be sidelined for the next few weeks with an ankle injury.

That means the Browns will need more from the likes of Armonty Bryant, Barkevious Mingo and, of course, Orchard.

"It is an opportunity for myself, so I need to go out there and make the most of it," Orchard said. "I need to practice hard and show that I deserve to be out there."

Because of Solomon's emergence throughout the offseason, Orchard was largely relegated to second-team work when he was healthy at training camp. He compiled seven tackles in two preseason games.

Those numbers didn't tell the whole story, though.

"He didn't put up big numbers, but he got a lot of pluses (on the grade sheet)," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. "He did his job. Very much looking forward to having him get out there. It's his first NFL game. I think we're all curious to see how he'll respond. If it's how he's practiced, how he's prepared himself, then I think it'll be a positive result."

Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil noticed a strong performance at Wednesday's practice from Orchard, whom he described as "heavy-handed" with good pass-rush ability. Orchard transitioned from wide receiver to defensive end when he arrived at Utah and blossomed as a senior, as he set a school record with 18.5 sacks and led the nation with 28 quarterback knockdowns.

One of those sacks came against Oregon's Marcus Mariota, who will make his second career start Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. He'd love to relive the memory in his official Browns debut.

"It is a huge opportunity to go against him again," Orchard said. "It is a blessing that we are here at this level. I am excited to go after him."

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