Cleveland’s risk on Bryant starting to pay off for defense

CLEVELAND – The gamble the Browns took by selecting defensive lineman Armonty Bryant in the seventh round of this year’s NFL draft might be starting to pay dividends.

Bryant, who had his first career sack in the 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills, came with plenty of baggage. He was arrested twice at East Central University in Oklahoma for selling marijuana to an undercover police officer. Then, shortly after being drafted, he was arrested for driving under the influence.

Bryant seems to have gotten the message that’s been drilled into him by Browns coaches. When asked about the biggest transition from college to the professional level, he didn’t talk about physical differences.

“The only thing I’m adjusting to is the professional side of everything,” Bryant said. “You have to get into your playbook and watch film and really get into things.”

Bryant played more than usual against the Bills after Desmond Bryant was sent to the Cleveland Clinic complaining of shortness of breath. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton likes what he’s seen of Armonty’s attitude.

“I asked him to show loyalty to the team because we drafted a young man that had a checkered past,” Horton said. “He’s done everything to endear himself to us and to trust him in the games. He’s proving us right to take a chance on a young man that had the potential to play in this league.”

PLEASE RELEASE ME: Quarterback Brandon Weeden hasn’t done much to show he can speed up his release time, but offensive coordinator Norv Turner keeps working with him. Turner has an interesting take on how soon the ball should leave a quarterback’s hand.

“You watch a quarterback’s feet,” Turner said. “When he sets his feet and steps up in the pocket, you want the ball out of there. In general, when he has options, you’d like to get it out of his hands.”

Turner credits Weeden for a throw he made against the Bills when he had to wait for the receiver to break open.

TEAM CHEMISTRY: Among the things that impresses Horton about the defense is the chemistry that’s developed among the players. He points to the selection of linebacker Quentin Groves as captain of the special teams.

“When Quentin came here there was an incident that happened,” Horton said. “His teammates elected him team captain. That says a lot about our team.”

Groves was arrested for solicitation during offseason workouts last spring.

OFF THE SUBJECT: Horton drifted off topic when he expressed condolences on the death of author Tom Clancy, who died last week.

“I loved the way he weaved a tale to try to get you to the end,” Horton said. “I always read the last pages first.”

  • TOUGH GOING: The Lions have owned the Browns over the years, posting a 14-4 record in the regular season and a 3-1 playoff record. Only the Denver Broncos have a better record against the Browns 19-5 in the regular season and 3-0 in the playoffs.

INJURY REPORT: Defensive lineman Billy Winn (quadriceps) missed practice again Thursday. Running back Chris Ogbonnaya (concussion) was full go after being limited Wednesday.

It looks like the Browns might catch a break and not have to face Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, who cornerback Joe Haden calls the best at his position in the NFL. Johnson (knee) was limited after missing Wednesday’s session. Cornerback Chris Houston (hamstring) and safety Louis Delmas (knee) were also limited after missing Wednesday’s practice.