BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Sheldon Brown made defensive plays at Cleveland Browns camp on Tuesday like he knew what was coming. The veteran cornerback stepped in front of receivers to knock away passes - when he wasn't making interceptions. "Sheldon is doing a nice job,'' new coach Pat Shurmur said. "His preparation is very, very good. He's getting a lot out of camp, playing very well.''
Brown looked completely comfortable in new coordinator Dick Jauron's defense. He should. Having four down linemen and three linebackers in front of him is the same basic concept he learned in eight seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before being traded to Cleveland a year ago.
Brown is eager to play in it again. "This is my system,'' Brown said. "I love the quicker tempo. Everything is sharper, faster.'' Brown said that's one big difference from the old regime that included a 3-4 defense under Eric Mangini, fired after last year's 5-11 finish. "Both ways can be successful,'' Brown said. "I'm just more comfortable in this one, not to say that I didn't like the other way. This is a little crisper, from my standpoint. Every day, we finish on time or ahead of schedule. We're fresh. We're organized. We're getting ready.''
Brown came to camp ready after having offseason shoulder surgery, and the 32-year-old believes he hasn't lost a step. Two years ago, he returned five interceptions and one fumble recovery for a career-high 212 yards. He had zero return yards on two picks in 2010 when he was hampered.
He tweaked his shoulder in mid-November, but two weeks later had a season-high 10 tackles in a win over Carolina. He tore the rotator cuff in the shoulder in mid-December against Buffalo, but didn't miss a start, extending his consecutive-game string to 144, second among active defensive backs to Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber (208). "I made adjustments to compensate and got by,'' Brown said. "Everything is fine now. It's not an issue at all.''
That's good news for the Browns. They are relying on Brown to play and help defensive backs such as young Joe Haden and newcomer Usama Young, brought in from New Orleans, adjust to the new defense. "He leads leadership to that group,'' Shumur said.
Brown says the unit will get chances to react quicker and make plays, though it may not necessarily result in more interceptions. That's fine with him, as long as Cleveland gives up fewer points overall. "I think if we execute this defense right, a lot of subtle things will happen that don't always show up on the stat sheet,'' Brown said, adding that his duties have not changed. "It's pretty much the same from our (backfield) standpoint, except there's not as much traffic in front of you. One less linebacker standing up gives a little clearing to see. Maybe you get a little better read.''
Brown prefers providing solid coverage on every play than being a hero. He pointed out that some defensive backs get picks and acclaim, but get burned by overly aggressive play, too. He'd rather quiety shut down a passing game and force opposing quarterbacks to not even look in his direction. "You can't get too full of yourself in the NFL,'' Brown said.
"You make one mistake and it is six points behind you. It's better to execute and contain, make all the plays and get the job done. "You have to stay on an even keel. You hear that all the time and it's true. Troy Vincent (former All-Pro with Eagles) taught me that. That's why I'm not going to predict we have a great unit. We can - if we all buy in to the plan. After that, we've got carry out the plan. There's a lot of work to do.''
Notes: Five players did little more than work on stationary bikes and watch practice: LB Chris Gocong (stinger), RB Montario Hardesty (knee), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (foot), DB Ramzee Robinson and OL Kyle Anderson. Shurmur had no updates, other than to say he is hopeful Gocong can go in the first exhibition game against Green Bay on Saturday. ... Haden, who sat out some practices last week with a strained hamstring, grimaced as he went to the ground Tuesday. Trainers retaped his left ankle and the second-year DB bounced up and took part in the remainder of the practice
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