Phil Taylor eager to get back but “won’t push it”

One of the nicer stories in an otherwise disappointing year so far for the Browns has been the defensive line. Much-maligned John Hughes and surprising late-rounder Billy Winn have been surprisingly good filling in for Phil Taylor. While it is a nice story, there’s no doubt that it would be an even better one if they were coming in to spell Taylor rather than filling in for him completely due to a torn pec sustained lifting weights this off-season. He’s getting closer and is eager to play, but he and the Browns also seem to be eager not to rush.

“I want to get back, but I’m not going to push it,” Taylor said in the locker room Monday. “My body will let me know when I’m ready to play.”

You hate to look too far ahead, and the Browns are expected to compete week-in and week-out despite injuries. That being said, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to the second half of the season when the Browns will hopefully have both Taylor and suspended corner, Joe Haden, back on the field. While nothing is guaranteed, you have to look at it as at least an opportunity for things to really come together for the young, inconsistent defense.

[Related: “Cleveland ’95: A Football Life” will be mandatory viewing for me]

  • Harv 21

    That’s fine, pec muscles are kind of crucial to interior d-linemen so he shouldn’t push it and risk re-injury. When he returns the defensive line will be a major team strength. And if the offensive line gets that strong we’ll be ready to consistently compete against our division opponents for the first time since the early 90’s.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    What’s nice is the rookies make it easier for him not to push it. The DL should be a real strength in the second half, and the supposedly decimated LB corps hasn’t been bad so far. With Haden the secondary (which is getting some unfair flak I think) will also be quite solid.

    Now about that offense…

    Side note: Advanced NFL Stats has the Browns’ D rated 2nd (!) overall. Their offense? 32nd.

  • SDA

    Don’t you think that a top notch d-line also helps the O-line get better? I’m of the mind set that practicing against a great Defense makes for a much better Offense and vise versa.

  • Dee P

    That’s great news on the rankings, because the offense is going up in a positive direction.

  • Dee P

    It all depends on the quality of practice and the mind set of the players during practice. But point taken.

  • Harv 21

    Absolutely, but that’s how guys might improve, not how a line becomes a major strength. You can’t polish a turd, you still have to draft or obtain quality. For 5 years Joe Thomas wasn’t able to make noticeable difference in our lousy defensive ends until Sheard came in the second round. That’s why I’m thrilled the last few years they’ve devoted some high picks to both lines.

  • SDA

    totally agree. there has to be some level of talent but talent will push talent. Its like someone once told me ” If you hang around losers you will become a loser. If you hand around successful
    people it will help you to be successful”. Same kinda applies here don’t you think?