Dawg Pound Journal: John Hughes confident D-line can bounce back

by Alex Salamon | Feb 27, 2015
Andrew Gribble, Senior Staff Writer

Injuries devastated the unit in 2014

DPJ 2_27_15

John Hughes thinks of “what could have been” when he thinks of “what could be” in 2015.

Hughes was one of a handful of Browns defensive linemen hampered by extended injuries during the 2014 season. He played in just five games -- four in late September and October and the season finale at Baltimore -- because of multiple significant injuries. So, too, did pass-rushing defensive end Armonty Bryant and nose guard Phil Taylor.

The Browns finished the season last in the NFL in run defense. Hughes and Taylor, who both specialize in run-stopping, were on the field together for just one game in 2014.

“I remember the beginning of training camp we were all talking about how deep we were,” Hughes said Thursday at the Browns facility. “Across the board, we couldn’t think of many teams that had as much depth that we did at D-line, just thinking highly of ourselves. We were kind of devastated with the injuries and everything but I think we battled through it about as good as we could.”

No matter the draft analyst, it’s hard to find any mock draft without the Browns taking at least one defensive lineman in the first round. It’s an understandable prediction given the team’s struggles against the run and impending free agency of longtime lineman Ahtyba Rubin, and it very well could happen, but Hughes said he’s confident in the unit no matter what happens over the next few months.

“I feel like we’re good with what we have,” Hughes said. “If we add anybody else, that would be a great addition to the team. I know the coaches thought pretty high of us last year but just to add more depth to the D-line would be great.”

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