Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah's notebook is riddled with plenty of scribbles, colors and categories after every practice and meeting.
Owusu-Koramoah, the Browns' second-round rookie LB, has always been a meticulous note-taker, which is one reason he and his coaches believe he's quickly become a reliable defender even though he's played in just six games. The notebook has remained full, too, despite "JOK" missing the last three games with an ankle injury suffered Week 6 against the Cardinals.
"I use so many notebooks," Owusu-Koramoah said Thursday. "I have, like, five notebooks. I like to organize so much that a clean notebook almost helps me out a bit more. I started to color code all my different things, set them in sections."
The note-taking over his absence is about to pay off soon.
Owusu-Koramoah was designated to return from Injured Reserve on Wednesday and he has a shot at returning to game action Sunday in New England. Defensive coordinator Joe Woods commended Owusu-Koramoah on Thursday for continuing to stay sharp despite not being able to practice over his absence, and he had little worry about Owusu-Koramoah falling behind after seeing his school-like collection of notebooks.
"It's something that (linebackers) Coach (Jason) Tarver talks to me about in terms of how he goes about taking his notes and the conversations that those guys have," Woods said. "I know he gets a copy of the game plan and goes through it. He looks at all the playbook pictures. Sometimes there might be something wrong in there, and he will find it. He's very diligent just in terms of how he goes about studying the game and preparing himself."
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The Browns have missed Owusu-Koramoah after his hot start to the season, which featured 29 tackles and placed him among the defense's tackling leaders. He also registered four pass breakups, one forced fumble and a half-sack and saw a significant uptick in snaps before his injury, playing in over 85 percent of defensive snaps in his last two games after hovering between 30 and 50 percent in the first four games.
Owusu-Koramoah is only 22 but was quickly ascending into a near every-down role on the defense. His speed and instincts were improving at a noticeable rate before his injury, and now that he's closer to returning, the Browns are eager to see how high he can rise as a rookie as their defense continues to click — Cleveland hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 16 points in its last three games.
"He's one of those guys where you just put him out there, and whatever spot you put him, he's going to make plays," S John Johnson III said. "He's like a heat-seeking missile. He's going to pursue the ball relentlessly."
Owusu-Koramoah has already proven in his young career he doesn't have much rust when he needs time away from the field.
He missed time in training camp due to two separate incidents — one when he was placed on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list for five days, and another when he missed a few more days later in camp after needing stitches in his forehead following a weight room accident. That missed time, however, didn't slow him down, and his tackling totals increased in almost all of his first six games.
Now, he's ready to return and get back to showing his ascension. The Browns aren't concerned about him showing any rust when he does, and his organized, strict note-taking is one reason why.
"Making sure that you continue to stay locked in and still have that laser focus," he said. "It's the ability to set boundaries, set discipline and set certain times with different things so you don't get out of whack during those free times. Just compartmentalizing, taking everything in different categories and being able to make sure that you do everything that you need to do and pay attention to the details."