With linebacker Mack Wilson out for the foreseeable future, someone has to step up in his place.
Third-round pick Jacob Phillips is relishing the opportunity.
The rookie is going to have to play some big minutes as either a rotational starter or backup.
To Phillips, that is no problem.
“Excitement” Describes The Mood
According to cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, Phillips wants “to make Mack Wilson proud.”
On September 13th, the Browns will open the season against the Baltimore Ravens and Phillips will get the nod at linebacker.
“Yeah, I definitely feel like I’m ready,’’ Phillips said on a video call Tuesday with Cabot. “I got a whole lot of confidence from this training camp. The players we have on offense and being able to compete against them every day is giving me a whole lot of confidence that I can do it against every other team in the league because I know how special our team is here for the Browns. I’m definitely ready, and actually, I can’t wait for it.”
Earlier this week, Phillips described having confidence in himself to take over.
#Browns rookie LB Jacob Phillips said he definitely feels like he’s ready to play in Week 1. “I got a whole lot of confidence in this training camp.”
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) September 1, 2020
Phillips was the No. 97 overall pick out of LSU and has gotten a lot of reps in training camp.
According to Cabot, Phillps has battled Tae Davis for the weakside linebacker position, while also subbing for B.J. Goodsen at middle linebacker.
Wilson mentored Phillips, so when he learned that Wilson could miss 4-6 weeks, he was distraught.
However, he has enjoyed his first NFL training camp.
— Fred Greetham (@FredGreetham) September 1, 2020
Phillips, the 6-foot-3, 228-pound linebacker, recorded 113 tackles last season, which led the SEC.
According to Cabot, Phillips could be seen making plays all over the field during the team’s scrimmage on Sunday.
It appears that Phillips is trying to cover multiple spots so that he can play at different positions.
#Browns LB Jacob Phillips says he played MIKE spot in scrimmage when B.J. Goodson was out but has spent most of his time at WILL, Mack Wilson’s spot. Phillips said he can cover, just never had the chance to show that.
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) September 1, 2020
Cabot talked to linebackers coach Jacob Tarver, and he had high praise for Phillips.
“Jacob really loves contact, and he’s fast,’’ Tarver said. “Like any rookie, sometimes he’s fast the wrong way and sometimes it’s fast the right way. What’s great about Jacob is he’s a one-time correction young man. You tell him, he writes it down, he analyzes it and learns from his mistakes.’’
It’s been an easy transition for Phillips to the Browns roster, as three other former LSU players are on the roster.
That includes OBJ, Jarvis Landry, and Greedy Williams.
With the regular season around the corner, it appears that the team seems content with their rookie.