Among the more pleasant surprises this year for the Cleveland Browns has been rookie linebacker Mack Wilson.
Wilson, who was forced into action after a season-ending pectoral injury to veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey, has filled in admirably in nine starts. He has 47 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack.
Wilson was a high-upside fifth-round pick out of Alabama and his level of athleticism helps him keep up on coverage, with four passes defended this year. But he can also lay the wood, which he showed off against the Dolphins.
Mack Wilson delivered a big hit against Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson. However, a flag was thrown for illegal use of the helmet, which he could end up being fined for.
Wilson called out the officials for the bad call on Twitter following the game.
“This was the hit I got a personal foul on,” he wrote. “Illegal use of helmet. Help me see this guys.”
As the picture shows, the hit was about as clean as they come, but still, the rookie drew the 15-yard flag.
Wilson found some support on social media, including from wide receiver Rashard Higgins.
Browns Linebacker Joe Schobert Stepping up for Cleveland
Wilson isn’t the only Browns linebacker turning it up lately. Wisconsin-product Joe Schobert has been tremendous the last two weeks, collecting four interceptions, 15 tackles and one sack.
Schobert has more than double the amount of tackles of any other team and leads the Browns in turnovers forced with his four picks and two forced fumbles. He also was the highest rated defender in the NFL during Week 11 according to Pro Football Focus rankings.
“You know I will tell you, I thought he had his best game — I know since I have been here — last week,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said after the win against the Dolphins. “I would have to see everything, but I thought he was pretty damn good today. I think Joe is playing real well.”
Schobert has been the steady force of a Browns defense that has been plagued by injuries this season, starting every game.
“The guys on the field understood what their role was,” Schobert said. “We preached the whole week just be hyper-focused and do your job and we’ll accomplish what we need to on defense, and I think you saw that today.”
Browns Looking For Focus in Steelers Rematch
The Browns want to minimize any distractions this week as they prepare for a rematch with the Steelers — a game that is expected to be emotionally charged due to the events last time the teams met, which ended with Myles Garrett bashing
“I want them to go in with one thing and one thing only on their minds, and that is to do their job, and anything that overshadows that in any way is not acceptable and it is not the best for the team,” Freddie Kitchens said on a Monday conference call. “I want guys to show up ready to do their job. All of that other stuff is just fluff. It is just fluff to give people things to talk about leading up to Sunday.
“At some point on Sunday around 1 p.m., we are going to kick the ball off and that is when it is going to be for real then at that point, and that is when I want them to be at their best.”
The Browns, who have won three games in a row, opened as a 1-point favorite for the game.