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Rookie Derrick Kindred playing the game 'the way it is supposed to be played'

Derrick Kindred stood at the 15-yard line as Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz analyzed the Browns' defensive front.

Cleveland's rookie safety bobbed in place before drifting back to the 11-yard line. Just before the ball was snapped, Kindred made his move, darting toward the line of scrimmage, where speedy veteran running back Darren Sproles grabbed the ball and moved upfield. He was promptly dropped after 2 yards, as Kindred delivered a perfect form tackle, the first of his NFL career.

A play seemingly lost in the shuffle of Cleveland's 29-10 season-opening loss Sunday hasn't gone unnoticed.

"He made one of the best tackles I've seen on the tape in the game on a running back," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "He fills holes. He flies around. He plays the game the way it is supposed to be played.

"He just needs more game experience. He is a young player learning how to play in the National Football League. We are really excited about his future."

And Kindred will continue to play. He's earned it after a productive preseason and a confidently played regular season debut.

The fourth-round pick out of TCU logged 23 snaps Sunday, often spelling Jordan Poyer at the safety spot opposite of Ibraheim Campbell. He was also a fixture on special teams, an area at which he knew he'd have to make an impact since the day he was drafted.

"I come out there and practice just like everybody else," Kindred said. "The coaches have really been helping all of us learn the defense more and more. I'm still going to be on special teams doing my thing, so I'm not going to put that to the side."

One play after Kindred dropped Sproles, he flew into the backfield on a delayed blitz. He had a clear path toward Wentz and a shot at delivering a similar type of hit, but the rookie quarterback wiggled out of the way.

Kindred's pressure paid off, as linebacker Christian Kirksey grabbed Wentz by his ankles and dropped him for a sack. Later, Kirksey joked with the rookie, telling him, "hey, I feel good and you can have the same feeling if you make the tackle.'"

It wasn't a laughing matter for Kindred.

"I should have made the play, but that's why he was there," Kindred said.

A fast start is nothing new for Kindred, who was inserted into a similarly prominent role at TCU as a freshman tasked to learn on the fly. By the end of his four-year run, he'd played in 50 consecutive games and started the final 29. For the bulk of his final season, Kindred played with a broken collar bone, a badge of courage he carried into the pre-draft process that impressed the Browns.

Playing without that pain has allowed Kindred to "put my whole game together," and the Browns have been thrilled to see it.

"When I did have the broken collar bone I was a little timid with [my left] shoulder and timing up my tackles and how to tackle," Kindred said. "Now I can just go out there and just play."

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