Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker Jacob Phillips was thrust into the limelight when Mack Wilson went down with a knee injury. Phillips has stepped in and stood out in camp since the injury. He believes going against players like Austin Hooper and Nick Chubb will help him take that same play to the rest of the NFL.
“The players that we have on offense, being able to compete against them every day, make plays against them, has definitely given me a whole lot of confidence I can do it against every other team in the league because I know how special our team is here,” Phillips said. “I’m definitely ready. Actually, I can’t wait for it.”Jacob Phillips via the Akron Beacon Journal
Phillips’s first challenge in the NFL? Slow NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, and the Ravens. That is quite the first test for the Browns rookie. Phillips seems confident he can handle the upcoming season.
“After everything I’ve experienced, I’ve been put in so many different situations and I don’t feel nervous for anything. I feel very confident. I feel happy to be in this position and blessed to be progressing like this. Hope to do well during the season.”
Phillips on Joe Woods defense
Phillips called the scheme by defensive coordinator Joe Woods “real complex,” but believes he has improved throughout training camp.
“I feel like being in this defense has let me showcase and have more opportunities to be a well-rounded player,” Phillips said. “We do a lot in this defense — we get to cover, we get to blitz, we get to run, a whole lot of things. I’m enjoying it. It’s a fun and fast defense, and I can’t wait to play.”
On LSU and now Browns teammate Grant Delpit’s injury
Phillips certainly feels for his teammate and has reached out to help keep his spirit up.
“Grant is a brother to me, so I definitely reached out, and I definitely was real, real torn up about the situation,” Phillips said. “It’s football, you’ve got to realize that God has paths for everybody. I tell him to ‘Keep your happiness, stay up, don’t let this get you down because there’s still so many things in front of you, so many more goals that can be reached. This is really just a speed bump.”
Browns head coach’s thoughts on Phillips
New Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski sees improvement in the young linebacker but knows Phillips still has plenty of work to do.
“Jacob runs around, and he wants to ‘See ball, get ball,’ and he’s built athletically to go do that. Like every other rookie at every other position, probably with every other team, it’s not perfect. There’s a growing period to this, and I think he’s made strides each and every day he’s been out there on the grass.”
On needing to improve his coverage skills
Phillips does not lack for confidence, that is for sure. He also seems out to prove he can do it all in the NFL.
“When you have more opportunities … you can showcase you’ve got that skill,” he said. “If you’re never put in that position, people don’t know you can do it. You’ve seen me breaking up passes and covering, doing all those things. … You’ll see Game 1.”
The Browns and Phillips will get there first chance to show what they can do Sunday, September 13th, at 1 pm in Baltimore.
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