Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 10/24/12
As the Cleveland Browns prepare to stop Ryan Matthews and the San Diego Chargers this Sunday, they will be one step closer to having an improved run defense with defensive tackle Phil Taylor returning to practice for the first time since the start of the 2012 regular season. Taylor injured his pectoral muscle during an off-season workout and was subsequently placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Earlier this week, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur hinted that last year’s first-round draft selection would see the practice field “this week.” With fellow defensive tackle Athyba Rubin reaggravating his calf injury, Taylor’s return will be a huge boost to a defense that was abused by a committee of reserves in Indianapolis just one week ago. Rookies Billy Winn and John Hughes have seen their snap counts increase in the wake of these injuries. As a team through 2012, the Browns have allowed 133.7 yards per game on the ground, good enough for 25th in the NFL. Taylor played in all 16 games as a rookie out of Baylor, recording 59 tackles and four sacks to go with a forced fumble. [Related: Mike Holmgren gives way to Jimmy Haslam in his final address]
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