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Tashaun Gipson out vs. Ravens, Jordan Poyer prepared to fill void

Jordan Poyer's been preparing for this moment since the first day of offseason workouts.

The third-year safety will be on the field early and often Sunday at Baltimore in place of Pro Bowl ballhawk Tashaun Gipson, who was officially ruled out Friday with an ankle injury.

"My confidence is high," Poyer said. "I'm excited for the opportunity to go out and play and compete. It's hard to replace a guy like Tashaun Gipson, Pro Bowler, X amount of picks. I just need to go out there, do my job, play confident and it will be OK."

Gipson was one of two Browns ruled out against the Ravens, joining linebacker Craig Robertson (ankle), who will miss a second consecutive game. Running back Shaun Draughn (back) is doubtful.

Defensive end Desmond Bryant, who has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, is one of six Browns considered to be questionable. The others: wide receiver Brian Hartline (ribs, thigh), defensive back Joe Haden (ribs/finger), linebacker Scott Solomon (ankle), running back Robert Turbin (ankle) and linebacker Karlos Dansby (ankle).

Poyer, a third-year pro out of Oregon State, is a regular in the Browns' dime coverage and a mainstay on special teams. He picked up valuable experience with the first-team defense during offseason workouts, at which Gipson was not present.

Browns coach Mike Pettine said Poyer also spells veteran Donte Whitner on occasion at practice. Essentially, he's the first safety off the bench at either spot.

"He prides himself on his preparation," Pettine said. "When he's focused, dialed in, he does a good job for us. I'm expecting him to, in the role that we have for him, to play well."

Poyer's likely start Sunday will be the first of his career. He hopes to make many more in the future, but understands the importance of his role within the Browns defense.

And that role's calling on him to play a significant amount of snaps, if not all of them, in the Browns' first game against an AFC North opponent.

"You can't replace a guy like Tashaun Gipson and that's not what I'm trying to do," Poyer said. "I'm trying to go in there and execute what I'm supposed to do and do my job."

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