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On-Field Observations: Defense flexes muscles on goal line

Over and over again, the Browns offense tried to punch it in the end zone Monday with runs from inside the 5-yard line, but the defense barely bent.

It was, perhaps, the top highlight for Cleveland's defense through the first five training camp practices. Play after play, no matter who was on the field, Cleveland's offense just couldn't crack the goal line. On one play, Danny Shelton burst through the line and Ibraheim Campbell soared from behind to make a tackle in the backfield. When they made one last stop, the defense came together in a huddle to celebrate.

The lone exception during the 10-play stretch came through the air when a blanketed David Njoku leapt and held onto a pass from Cody Kessler.

Even as the commander of the Browns' offense, coach Hue Jackson wasn't discouraged. He knew what he was getting into when he made Gregg Williams his defensive coordinator.

"Anytime you play Gregg Williams at the goal line and you try to run it every play, it is not good for your health," Jackson said. "But it is good for our football team. I think that is how you build a tough defensive unit. I think that part of it was good and I think our guys got after it."

-- Rookie DL Myles Garrett capped a two-minute drill possession with a sack of Brock Osweiler on fourth down. It was a clear sack for the No. 1 pick, who might have thought he had a couple more earlier in the drive, but the whistle never blew to stop the play.

Jackson laughed and said he "absolutely" was being stingy with calling sacks on the rookie.

"I am not giving him free sacks that he wants," Jackson said. "Obviously he is doing a good job. He is rushing the passer. He has turned it up a little bit. I think he is in much better shape. He understands what we are expecting of him to do and he is doing it, so that is what you are seeing. You are seeing a young player that is starting to get better and better and better within our scheme."

-- During a red zone period late in the practice, rookie QB DeShone Kizer used his feet to get in the end zone on multiple occasions. He punctuated his first with a big spike and took on a little contact on the second, which started much closer to the goal line and crowded him with bodies from all angles.

In two seasons at Notre Dame, Kizer ran for 992 yards and 18 touchdowns.

"He has that skill set," Jackson said. "We try to showcase all of those guys' talents and abilities. There are some things that he can do that may be a little different, and we will give him an opportunity to do those things."

-- First-year defensive lineman Trevon Coley got some work with the first-team defensive line during portions of Monday's practice. He's been highlighted by Shelton and Jackson as an emerging player, and Jackson verified he'd earned the right to line up with Cleveland's top unit.

"He is playing well," Jackson said. "We will keep giving guys opportunities. If you demonstrate on our football team that you have the skill and you can help us win, we are going to give you an opportunity to be out there."

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