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Browns vs. Raiders: Phil Taylor's return, Billy Winn's emergence make DL a strength

The Cleveland Browns boast a strong defensive line, thanks to the return of Phil Taylor and strong play from rookie Billy Winn.

Matt Sullivan

The Cleveland Browns are making strides on both sides of the ball, but no unit is progressing faster than the defensive line. Finally healthy with defensive tackles Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin playing together, rookie Billy Winn can take some snaps off and focus on his game.

In a press conference, defensive coordinator Dick Jauron spoke on Winn and his role with the team with both Rubin and Taylor back in the lineup.

"We've gotten to rest him," Jauron said. "He was taking lots of snaps early in the year. We've gotten to rest him more and he's playing both tackle and defensive end for us and doing some other things too in other packages.

"Really, so far, knock on wood, Billy has had a terrific year."

Jauron went on to note that Taylor isn't getting all the snaps he could be as they bring him back from injury. They feel good about his conditioning with the work he did while missing the first half of the season, but the desire to keep him (and the rest of the line) fresh is large, given that it's the best-performing unit at the moment.

In the meantime, Winn will continue to get snaps, especially in the nickel formation. Jauron said that Winn is "very quick and explosive," and that he has the ability to penetrate a gap and get the edge on a blocker.

His playing time may drop some as Taylor gets more snaps with Rubin (the line improved dramatically when those two were paired for the first time this season), but the Browns are very confident in his abilities going forward.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.