Deion Jones knocked some rust off Sunday in his Browns debut and is ready to embrace a full-time role at linebacker.
He needs to now after the Browns placed LB Jacob Phillips on injured reserve Wednesday with a pectoral injury that is likely season-ending. Jones is next in line for the starting role at middle linebacker as well as the "green dot" duties that involve relaying play calls to the defense, and he feels ready for them after playing in his first game of the season Sunday in Baltimore.
"It was fun," Jones said. "It was good to be back out there, flying around and tackling. It was good."
Jones tallied a tackle for a loss and five total tackles in 33 snaps (52 percent) against the Ravens. He took over at middle linebacker when Phillips, who leads the Browns this season with 46 tackles, exited the game after initially splitting reps with him.
"That's a big loss for us," Jones said. "(I'm) just constantly on the grind, getting in the playbook, learning all I can learn and (want to) pick up from where he left off."
Jones, as well as Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Sione Takitaki, Tony Fields II and Jordan Kunaszyk, are the remaining linebackers for a room that already lost its top veteran, Anthony Walker Jr., due to a season-ending quad injury in Week 3.
The Browns acquired Jones, a Pro Bowler in 2017 who has totaled over 100 tackles in each of the last three seasons, on Oct. 10 to fill that gap, but they knew he'd need time to work back into being a full-time player.
"He's a good veteran linebacker for us," head coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday. "He hasn't played football in a little while so I think it was just natural that he's playing himself into — he's in good shape — football shape, if you will, just because of when you haven't played in a while and you are thrust out there. I think he will only get better because of that. Has a very good understanding of what we're doing."
Check out photos of players and coaches working to prepare for the teams regular season game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football
CB Denzel Ward (concussion), LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (knee), TE David Njoku (ankle), RG Wyatt Teller (Calf), CB Greedy Williams (illness) and DEs Jadeveon Clowney (ankle) and Myles Garrett (shoulder, biceps) were among the players who didn't practice Thursday.
Stefanski said Ward remains in the concussion protocol and has "no update" on his status while Owusu-Koramoah, who suffered his injury against the Ravens, is "day-to-day."
Stefanski also added that RB Jerome Ford, who has been on injured reserve with an ankle injury since Oct. 4, is progressing.
"Should see him after the bye," Stefanski said.
Brissett hosts 'Halloween Fashion Show'
QB Jacoby Brissett rolled out the orange carpet with a few of his teammates and children from "The Littlest Heroes" Foundation to show off Halloween costumes and celebrate the countdown to the holiday.
Brissett hosted a “Halloween Fashion Show” at FirstEnergy Stadium, continuing an annual tradition he's hosted at each NFL city he's lived in for the last three years. Brissett was joined by Joel Bitionio, Harrison Bryant, Michael Dunn, Miller Forristall, Kareem Hunt, Ethan Pocic, Chase Winovich, Alex Wright, Greg Newsome, Cade York, D'Ernest Johnson, Anthony Walker and Joshua Dobbs at the event, which included patients battling cancer and other childhood illnesses.
"The players coming out and supporting it was awesome," Brissett said. "Brought a lot of smiles and a couple of tears in the crowd. Overall, it was a great event. Definitely puts a lot of things in perspective."
Brissett dressed up as "Mario," while other costumes included Bitonio as "Mr. Incredible," Winovich as the Pillsbury Doughboy and Greg Newsome as Mickey Mouse.
"We had a bunch of good ones," Brissett said. "I thought Joel's was pretty good. He actually brought that with him, so he actually had it in his house for a little bit. That was good. I thought all of the little kids looked cute so there were a lot of good costumes."