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Browns rookie DE Carl Nassib letting his play speak for itself

Carl Nassib was a man of few words postgame Thursday night. Instead, the Browns rookie defensive end lets his play on the field speak for itself.

That's exactly what Nassib did in a 24-13 loss to the Falcons and in an otherwise subpar performance from a defense still taking shape.

Nassib notched a sack, fumble recovery, and pass breakup in which he used his 6-foot-7 frame to tip the ball at the line of scrimmage.

But Nassib, whom the Browns drafted in the third round to help bolster its run defense and pass rush, played down the impressive display.

"I don't really care about stats," he said. "I just want to win games and help my team more next time."

Make no doubt about it, though: the former Penn State standout and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year continues to shine this preseason despite missing time in the spring because of a leg injury. It's as if he never skipped a beat.

In his rookie debut at Green Bay last Friday, he recorded his first NFL sack, a tackle-for-loss and applied plenty of pressure on the Packers quarterbacks.

"I went into wanting to gain experience and learn stuff and I think I did that today," Nassib said last week, adding, "I went out and I just tried to do my job every play as hard and fast as I could every time."

That approach has served him well so far, and it could mean more playing time in the near future.

Browns coach Hue Jackson said that's a decision he and the coaching staff will make only after careful evaluation. After all, it's only now the third week of the preseason.

"We'll make that decision as we go," Jackson said. "Obviously, he's doing some good things, and he needs to continue to get better and keep growing."

The Browns host the Falcons at FirstEnergy Stadium.

And following an outing in which the defense surrendered more yards and missed tackles than it would have liked, Jackson added Cleveland will also keep looking at "different combinations" to ensure the Browns have the best possible unit on the field.

"I don't think that we have all the answers just yet or else we would have slowed some other teams down," Jackson said.

"I think our guys understand what we need to fix, and I think they will come back in here chomping at the bit to get better."

Of course, Nassib would appear to be firmly in that mix if he can keep making plays in the preseason.

His focus, however, isn't on himself. It's on doing his part to help the Browns defense, no matter what role that might ultimately be.

"We did well in the first half but there were some drives that we had the chance to get off the field and we didn't really capitalize on," Nassib said, "so we're improving and are going to just keep doing our job."

For Nassib, that could mean more big plays. When asked Thursday about why his on-field hustle looks almost effortless, Nassib shrugged off the compliment. "I appreciate that. It's not easy," he said, "but I just want to continue to work hard and be the absolute best to help my team win."

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