Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron returned to the practice field for the first time since suffering a concussion Oct. 26 against the Oakland Raiders, although the team ruled the Pro Bowler out against the Atlanta Falcons – his fourth straight missed game.
"It's very frustrating," said Cameron to reporters on Friday. "No concussion is the same and you have to treat them as such. The neurologists and doctors I've talked to looked at my situation in detail and I trust what they are saying."
Cameron hopes to return next Sunday against Buffalo.
Kick returner Marlon Moore (hamstring) has also been ruled out for Sunday's game. Coach Mike Pettine and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor will finalize the plans during a meeting Friday afternoon, which may include rookie Justin Gilbert returning a kick, something Pettine indicated earlier in the week.
On the defensive side of the ball, the news is better. Jabaal Sheard (foot) is listed as questionable and Cleveland is hopeful the outside linebacker will suit up, even on a limited basis. Defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin was limited in practice on Wednesday (knee) but he's now listed as probable.
"Rube's (Rubin) had a good week, as well," Pettine said. "I know he was limited a little bit early in the week, but yesterday and today I thought were two of his better days. We'll see."
The only unclear situation right now is at middle linebacker. Karlos Dansby (MCL) is listed as doubtful. If it were solely up to Dansby, he'd be playing against Atlanta – where many family members including his grandma (on her 84th birthday) will be attending the game.
If Dansby isn't able to play, Craig Robertson will assume the MIKE linebacker role in the middle, where he will call plays and be asked to do everything from cover tight ends to shut down the run.
"Craig has done a great job [in practice]," said cornerback Buster Skrine. "Craig is a pro. He's one of those guys that comes in early and leaves late. He's going to do a good job."
"I'm embracing [the MIKE role] big because it's a good chance for our team," said Robertson. "It's big shoes to fill. But it's next man up. We've had it all season. And I mean, Karlos, he'll be back in no time. We have to fill in while he's down, but when he comes back, he'll be rolling."
- Before every game, Mike Pettine, Kyle Shanahan and Jim O'Neil meet together to finalize the game plan together. Pettine's philosophy for why all three meet together – something not every NFL team does – is fascinating.
- "The reason we get together is so each guy can kind of hear the plight of the other area," Pettine said. "That's why when we formulate a plan, it will take into account the team situation. If it is one where we say, 'Hey, listen. We're going to need to open it up some. It's going to be tough sledding for us on defense,' or, 'Hey, defensively we're going to have to be real aggressive because we know we're going to have some issues on offense.' They understand and they hear it, so those plans aren't really being built individually."
- The Browns increased wide receiver Josh Gordon's repetitions on Friday in practice and Pettine thought the 23-year-old responded nicely.
- "He looked solid again today," said Pettine. "We ramped him up a little bit more, which was a little bit more difficult just because Friday practice is so much more condensed and we wanted to trim things back being on the turf three days. I think it's just a natural progression that he's going through."
- We wrote on Friday morning that the Falcons want to turn Sunday's game into a track meet. Pettine fully agreed with the assessment.
- "I just think that's what they do. They like to go up-tempo. They like to get you on your heels to get you in some very predictable looks," said Pettine. "He does a good job of calling plays at the line. That's our challenge is to force them to be one dimensional, and when they are, take advantage of getting them behind the sticks."