Chances seem to be improving that the Cleveland Browns will have one of their better defensive players back from injury this week.
Jabaal Sheard moved well in the portion of practice open to the media. Sheard has missed two weeks with a sprained knee, and though he was limited Wednesday he was in full uniform Thursday.
Sheard moved from defensive end to outside linebacker this season when the Browns switched to the 3-4 and was playing very well before he sprained his knee.
“He’s a very smart player,” defensive coordinator Ray Horton said. “He allows us to do certain things.”
First-round pick Barkevious Mingo started for Sheard, and Horton has been quick to temper enthusiastic responses to Mingo’s flashy plays and caution that the rookie was learning.
One example: Mingo was responsible for the outside edge on C.J. Spiller’s long touchdown run in the win over the Bills, but he ducked too far inside and allowed Spiller to bounce around the end and score.
“I assume he knows what the lesson is, what his responsibility to the rest of the team is,” Horton said of Mingo. “He’s a young player and I think I said a week ago, two weeks ago for sure, with young players like him, we’re going to learn and grow with him.”
And suffer with him.
Sheard is in his third season, but Horton said he is “one of our better players.” Horton deferred to coach Rob Chudzinski on whether Sheard would start, but said: “We want all of our good players on the field.”
Quarterback Brian Hoyer made his first appearance on the field since tearing a knee ligament during the morning walk-through. Hoyer moved on crutches, and did not speak to the media. He has been in the building with his teammates all week.