Defensive end Frostee Rucker was one of the Cleveland Browns free-agent signings in the offseason and the team is hoping that Rucker can improve the team’s 30th ranked rush defense.
Rucker apparently decided he needed to bulk up for the task as he has reportedly shown up at training camp heavier that last year, according to ESPN.com.
But it is apparently the “good” kind of weight gain, not the “bad” kind (think Gerard Warren).
“I think he’s put on a little bit of weight, based on what I saw in the spring,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said on Monday. “It’s good weight. He’s moving around well. We liked him last year when we played against him, and that’s why we brought him here. We feel like he can play on all three downs.”
The Browns are hoping that Rucker, who they signed for five years and $21 million, can combine with fellow free-agent defensive end Juqua Parker to make a capable defensive end opposite Jabaal Sheard.
“I think Frostee can pass rush, but I also think he’s thick enough to play the run,” Shurmur said. “We feel like Frostee and Juqua as veteran defensive ends will help man that right end spot. If there are situations where Jabaal needs a blow, of course they can fill in for him as well, not to mention all the other guys.”
For his part, Rucker, listed at 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, likes what he sees so far from the Browns rebuilt defensive line.
“We just really need to concentrate on being fundamentally sound and being gap sound,” he told ESPN. “The coaches are really harping on those things now, and everyone’s getting it. Last year, it was unfortunate, when they came together there were no OTAs or minicamps, so they were a little bit behind. The sky is the limit for this group. Everyone is being accountable and that’s the best thing, to be accountable and play gap-sound football and we should be alright.”
If the Browns can make any kind of improvement in the rush defense it will go a long way toward helping an offense that is going to be loaded with inexperienced players.
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