Pierre Desir will start at cornerback in place of the injured Joe Haden (concussion).
Desir drew the start last week against the Broncos, and ended up tallying a career-best 12 combined tackles. Despite some struggles defending Peyton Manning and the Denver passing attack, the Cleveland Browns will once again turn to Desir to start opposite Tramon Williams.
Pierre Desir logged a career-best 12 tackles (10 solo) in Sunday's loss to the Broncos. He was also credited with one pass defended.
Desir stepped into a starting role with Joe Haden (finger/concussion) out for the contest, and ended up with a productive fantasy effort. This doesn't mean he played well, however, as he was beaten multiple times on deep, back-shoulder routes, and that is partially responsible for the high tackle total. Any utility that can be drawn from the impressive statistical performance is likely to evaporate as soon as Haden returns. If anything, the output provides clarity to a cornerback depth chart that had been a bit cloudy after Haden and fellow starter Tramon Williams.
O'Neil indicated Mingo likely would have made a bigger impact last season, but he injured his shoulder in the first game and played hurt all season. He underwent surgery in February.
“It was so disappointing because I really liked how he was coming on through the preseason and all of training camp,” O’Neil said, per the team's official website. “I see him downstairs every day rehabbing his [tail] off.”
As for Desir, he got reps late in the season and impressed in a limited amount of playing time. The 2014 fourth-round pick wasn't expected to play a down as a rookie.
“I’m really excited about him because he has such a pro mentality,” O’Neil said. “We called on him at the end of the season and he was kind of a guy that we were counting on redshirting the entire year.
“One of the big questions marks about Desir: Was he going to stick his face in the run game? And he showed that he would. And he did a (darn) good job at the line of scrimmage pressing some receivers.”
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