BEREA—One of the players who has caught the eye of Eric Mangini in the OTAs in third-year nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin.
Even though it’s hard to miss a guy 330 pounds, the soft-spoken Rubin has let his play do his talking for him.
With the absence of Shaun Rogers from practices rehabbing his leg and pending legal problems, Rubin is taking advantage of his opportunity.
“I’m working very hard in practice,” Rubin said. “I’m preparing for the coming season to help out in whatever way I can.”
His hard work was rewarded by the coaching staff.
“Rubin was our defensive player of the week last week,” Mangini said. “He’s consistent and he does the right thing. He works hard every day. He knows what to do and is the same player every day.
“You know what you’re going to get out of him.”
Those are some pretty strong words coming from the team’s head coach.
Rubin (6-2, 330) is in his third year from Iowa State and really came on last year when Rogers went down with a broken leg. He played in all 16 games and started the final five in place of Rogers. He finished with 38 tackles and forced a fumble.
“I’m trying to have the mindset to be a stout force in the middle of the defense,” Rubin said. “I’ve been waiting for an opportunity and want to be ready to make the most of it when it is presented to me.”
To be a nose tackle in the 3-4, a player has to sometimes be selfless and sometimes his statistics go unnoticed.
“I try to take up two gaps and free up the linebackers to make plays.”
During the five games span he started, Rubin and the Browns held their opponents to under 100 yards rushing in three of the games. In the season finale against Jacksonville, Rubin had five tackles and helped keep Maurice Jones-Drew to just 82 yards rushing.
There has been talk of moving Rogers to end to open up more playing time for Rubin.
“We’ll work Shaun some at end,” Mangini said. “You want to have the flexibility to play the best guys. He has the athleticism to move around.”
One way or another, you can bet the Browns coaching staff will find a way to get Rubin on the field.
QB Talk: During Monday’s OTA, QB Jake Delhomme hit WR Brian Robiskie for a 14-yard gain to open up the two-minute offense. On the following play, he was intercepted by rookie T.J. Ward for a touchdown after the ball went off the tight end’s fingers. After the interception, Delhomme hooked up again with Robiskie for 15 yards across the middle… Delhomme finished with completions for touchdowns to TE Evan Moore and WR Chansi Stuckey in goal line. Delhomme was 6-of-9 with an interception…QB Seneca Wallace started with completions to TE Robert Royal and WR Johnathan Haggerty before a deflected interception to DB Nick Sorenson off the hands of Haggerty… Wallace had a pass batted down by DL Derreck Robinson. He finished 4-of-8 with an interception…QB Brett Ratliff hit rookie WR Cartlton Mitchell with a beautifully thrown loft over DB Larry Asante for a touchdown in his limited opportunity…QB Colt McCoy was just 1-of-3 with an interception to CB Brandon McDonald on a pass intended for Mitchell.
Lap Runners: OL Scott Kooistra ran a lap two different times during the part of practice open to the media. OL Tony Pashos also ran a lap.