Jamie Collins Sr. summed up his last few weeks in matter-of-fact fashion.
"It's rough," Collins said Thursday from the locker room. "It gets boring."
Collins was sidelined for good reason, of course, as he missed the past three games while stationed in the league's concussion protocol. The Pro Bowl linebacker started feeling better by the end of last week and has been a full participant at practice this week as Cleveland prepares for Sunday's game against the Texans.
Collins, a key member of a revamped Cleveland defense, wants to make up for lost time.
"I have to bring some energy," Collins said. "Just try to bring some energy and hope I can bring good, positive vibes."
Hue Jackson expects just that, as Collins is the third big piece to return to the Browns defense in recent weeks. Both defensive end Myles Garrett and nose tackle Danny Shelton returned to the rotation last week.
This was the starting defensive lineup the Browns envisioned at the end of the preseason.
"It is one of our better players, one of our best players. I think it will add another spark to our defensive football team," Jackson said. "Obviously, getting Myles back last week, getting Jamie back, getting Danny back, I think that is good. We are back to almost full strength. I think the guys are excited to be out there playing, practicing together and I think they are looking forward to playing in a game together."
Collins' return comes at a key time for a Browns defense that could be without James Burgess Jr. (knee), who filled in admirably for Collins during his three-game absence.
"It is going to be great to have two playmakers like that on the field," linebacker Joe Schobert said, referring to Collins and Garrett. "Our defense, we are having a lot of fun. I know in practice everyone is competing and having fun. I'm excited to see it on the field."
-- Jackson said he's hopeful the Browns' offensive line will be at full strength Sunday at Houston.
Center JC Tretter and right tackle Shon Coleman are both dealing with knee injuries. Cleveland's offensive line has remained relatively healthy through the first five weeks, and Jackson thinks it could remain that way against a banged-up Houston defensive line.
"I think they are all making progress," Jackson said. "Hopefully, we will have them all back out tomorrow. For the most part, I feel good about the group. Hopefully, they will be able to progress well enough tomorrow to practice so that they can play in this game."
-- Jackson had a simple answer when asked about the biggest difference in the Browns' running game this past week compared to the first four.
"I called it more," Jackson said with a laugh.
The Browns rushed for 140 yards on 33 attempts, both of which were far and away season highs. Cleveland had rushed a combined 38 times in its past two games after falling behind early and sinking into some deep deficits. Against the Jets, Cleveland never trailed by more than 10 and held its first lead of the season.
The Browns are 25th in the NFL in rushing (89.2 yards per game).
"We were in the game. The game was a lot closer game. We had more cracks at it," Jackson said. "Our guys finished some blocks. We got on people. We fit the ball in the right spot. I thought we did those things better, but being very honest with you, we called it more. We had an opportunity. We were in the game, and that is what we hope to do and want to do."