Browns Bring Back Pass-Rusher After Linebacker Heads to IR

Getty Images Head coach Kevin Stefanski talks with defensive end Joe Jackson of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns added defensive end Joe Jackson to the 53-man roster after linebacker Jacob Phillips was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday.

Jackson was with the team during the preseason and was waived during final roster cuts. Jackson is a former fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys and played three games with the Browns last season, making five tackles.

It was expected that the Browns would add another defensive end to the rotation, with Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and Takkarist McKinley being the only defensive ends the team kept on the initial 53-man roster. The Browns chose Jackson over the likes of Curtis Weaver and Porter Gustin.

It’s a little bit of roster gymnastics from the Browns, who can now have Phillips return later this season from IR. As noted in Cleveland’s release announcing the news, any player going on injured reserve at this point in the season with a major injury is allowed to return after missing only three games, and teams may return an unlimited number of players from injured reserve throughout the year.

Bicep Injury Tough For Jacob Phillips

Phillps is a former third-round pick and was expected to be a key reserve on the defensive side of the ball, seeing reps both at middle and weakside linebacker. The surgery on his torn bicep was expected to be season-ending but the Browns obviously feel good about his prospects of returning to the field this season.

Phillips played in just nine games last season, limited by a knee injury. He also missed a game against the Jets due to COVID-19 protocol. Phillips notched 25 tackles last season.

“He has had surgery. He is here. He is rehabbing here,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said on Wednesday. “Hopefully, he attacks this rehab like I know he will and then see where we are as he gets healthy.”

When asked about the notion that Phillips could play this season, Stefanski responded with a simple, “yes.”

The Browns are hoping to stay healthy at the position after some scary moment in camp. Mack Wilson suffered a shoulder injury during a preseason game, while Sione Takitaki is working his way back from a hamstring injury.

Browns Keep Last Two Draft Classes Intact

Kevin Stefanski: "We want to have a bunch of good, young players."Head Coach Kevin Stefanski addresses the media after practice on September 1, 2021. #BrownsMedia #PressConference2021-09-01T20:48:33Z

An interesting note from the Browns’ 53-man roster is that the team was able to keep all its draft picks on the team. It bodes well for the future of the team, knowing their young players are progressing as planned.

“Obviously, we want to do a good job in our draft evaluations as an organization, and certainty, that is the goal,” Stefanski said. “To be able to do that and develop these young guys, it is a big piece of who we are. We want to have a bunch of good young players who we feel like with our coaches, with our strength staff and with all of the resources here that we can develop them into contributors.”

Rookies who are expected to be big players for the Browns this season are cornerback Greg Newsome II and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. The two top picks could both be starters by the end of the season.

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