The Cleveland Browns rank 24th in run defense. They’ve permitted 4.52 yards per rushing attempt to opponents, and allowed the second most 20-plus-yard runs in the league.
But help is on the way.
Browns defensive lineman Phil Taylor, a 6-foot-3, 355-pound nose tackle who tore his left pectoral muscle lifting weights in May, returned to the practice field on Wednesday. Taylor opened the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list. Per Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Taylor could return as soon as Week 9 against the division-rival Ravens.
With fellow defensive tackle starter Ahtyba Rubin battling a lingering calf injury, Cleveland has had to rely on rookies John Hughes and Billy Winn to play prominent roles up front. Hughes and Winn figure to continue to contribute when Taylor and Rubin get healthy, but a four-man rotation could keep their legs fresh and improve the effectiveness of the group as a whole.
Taylor, 24, was the 21st overall selection in the 2011 draft.