Mingo makes career debut

BALTIMORE – Barkevious Mingo’s first regular-season play drew more wows than Miley Cyrus at the MTV Awards.

The Browns rookie linebacker was anxious to show his skills after missing the final two preseason games and the season opener recovering from a bruised lung. On his first play from scrimmage, Mingo blew past Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie and sacked quarterback Joe Flacco for a loss of 9 yards.

“It was an incredible feeling,” said Mingo, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft. “We like getting to quarterbacks, but just too little. We couldn’t finish the game.”

Mingo played as advertised. He flashed sprinter’s speed and the strength needed to deal with larger tackles. His speed on the punt coverage unit showed up when he induced a holding penalty, and he also drew a holding call on a stretch run by the Ravens.

“One was I got inside on the punt and the guy couldn’t get his hands in the proper place and he kind of tugged on me,” Mingo said. “The other one was a stretch play. I tried to separate. Obviously he didn’t want me to separate, so he pulled me. A good time to get a flag.”

Mingo wasn’t limited in anything. He had some downs at linebacker in the base defense. In addition he lined up as a lineman on nickel downs and was on the field for punt returns.

“Actually I felt like I could have played a little bit more,” Mingo said. “It’s up to the coaches. Obviously we have a lot of guys that wants reps, and we’re competing over that job. If one guy is tired, the next man is up. While we’re in there we have to affect the game.”

With the offense struggling in every area, it became incumbent upon the defense to make a big play. Mingo almost did his part when he batted a Flacco pass high into the air. Mingo tried to pull in the ball before it hit the ground but was unsuccessful.

“It’s hard to say that (I made an impact) because we lost,” Mingo said. “I felt like if I could have done a little more we would have won. The team feels the same way. We know we missed some opportunities. We have to finish the game.”

Mingo came through the game fine health-wise. When he suffered the injury he encountered trouble breathing and spit up blood.

“I feel fine,” he said.