BEREA — There’s a verse in Proverbs 27:17 that says, “Iron sharpens iron.”
There cannot be a more true statement for Browns rookie Jabaal Sheard.
The 6-foot-2, 255-pound second-round defensive end from Pittsburgh is sharpening his trade every day against Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas.
“I think I’m getting better and better every day going against Joe Thomas,” Sheard said. “I hope I’m giving him some competition.”
Pat Shurmur agrees that the competition will only make Sheard a better player.
“Sheard’s doing well,” Shurmur said. “He has good competition going against Joe, which has really helped him. It’s the daily competition. He’s working on one-on-one pass rush, working different moves. It’s just two good players going against one another. It’s always good to go against great players.”
Sheard is penciled in as the starter at right end, after mostly playing left end in college.
“I’m getting used to (playing on the right),” he said. “I have the opposite hand on the ground, but I’m learning it.”
Thomas, who has been to the Pro Bowl in each of his four years in the NFL, has helped Sheard as he learns to be a pass rusher in the NFL.
“It’s been tough going against him,” Sheard said. “He’s helped me a lot in technique.
“I used to bull rush and Joe has told me to keep my head up,” he said. “We go back and forth, but going against him helps as I am going against one the best tackles in the game.”
Sheard is excited about the young corps of defensive linemen the Browns have assembled.
“I think we have a good group of young guys on the d-line with Phil (Taylor), Ahtyba (Rubin) and Jayme (Mitchell),” he said. “Hopefully, I can add on to it.”
Sheard is looking forward to playing his first NFL preseason game.
“I’m tired of seeing Joe,” he said. “I’m ready to see another team. I’m excited to see what our team can do.”
Sheard has his eyes set on the regular season opener against the Bengals on Sept. 11.
“It would be a great honor to start.”
Falling Behind: RB Montario Hardesty and WR Mohamed Massaquoi are two players expected to be big contributors to the offense this year. However, neither has been in team drills. Hardesty was suited up, but not participating in contact drills. Massaquoi still has the walking cast on his left foot.
Shurmur was asked if he’s concerned about either player getting too far behind.
“Any time you miss reps, it takes time to get going again,” Shurmur said. “(Hardesty) was running better (Tuesday) than I’ve seen him.”
Massaquoi is expected to be the Browns’ No. 1 receiver.
“I don’t know about (him) losing ground, but we will play the best players.”
Measuring Stick: Shurmur will be coaching his first NFL game as a head coach against the Packers on Saturday night, but he is not looking at it in that perspective.
“I am looking forward to our first game to see where we’re at,” Shurmur said. “It will be an important gauge for me.”
Checking In on Pryor: Former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor is holding a pro day this week and Shurmur said the Browns will check him out. Being a quarterback coach himself, Shurmur would like to see him personally, but has other things to attend to.
“I won’t be able to get away, but I will be well aware of what goes on.”
The NFL still hasn’t ruled on whether Pryor will be allowed to enter the supplemental draft or not.
Injury Update: LB Chris Gocong (stinger), DB Ramzee Robinson (groin), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (foot) and DL Kyle Anderson (undisclosed) were all held out of practice. Shurmur said that he is ‘hopeful’ that Gocong will play against the Packers.