Da'Norris Searcy has seen a fair share of game time at safety in his first two seasons in the NFL, but come Sunday in Cleveland his playing time could be on the rise.
After free safety Jairus Byrd injured his ankle last week, head coach Chan Gailey listed him as questionable for Sunday, though he expects him to be dressed for Sunday's game.
"Very limited out there on Thursday, but Jairus practiced Friday," said Gailey of Byrd. "We're going to list Jairus as questionable, but I expect him to play."
Although Byrd is expected to start, whether he makes it through the whole game is another matter. That's why Searcy is making sure he's more than prepared to fill the void if needed.
"Every week I go out prepared as if I am going to start," Searcy said. "You never know what can happen in a game. We had an incident when George (Wilson) was out for a few plays and I had to go in and play strong. It's just good preparation throughout the week."
The former Tar Heel saw action in every game last season, mostly on special teams, but made three starts, recording 34 tackles and one interception. Searcy has registered six tackles so far this year, but doesn't pay attention to how much playing time he gets on the field.
"I have no clue, I really don't count," said Searcy who has 35 snaps on the season. "When I get in there I just do the best that I can. I go in knowing my assignment and knowing what I have to do. Anything to help the team win."
Strong safety George Wilson said he's spent a lot of time working with Searcy and is confident he can come in and play with anybody.
"We've been going through this ever since OTAs," Wilson said. "Searcy, myself and Byrd have been rotating around in the secondary. So we've been prepared for a situation like this, but hopefully we have Byrd back on the field."
Searcy agreed saying the time he's spent learning from Wilson and Byrd has been invaluable.
"They've helped tremendously," Searcy said. "It all started last year during the lockout. George found out I was living in Atlanta and he lived down there, so when we got into Atlanta we just got up, worked out and talked. He brought me up to speed and took me under his wing."
With the help of Wilson and Byrd, Searcy said he feels much more comfortable on the field this year as well.
"This year coming in, I knew a lot more, especially during OTAs and minicamp," said Searcy. "During training camp I just sat between both of them and continued to learn."
Searcy said the difference in his knowledge of the defense from this year to last has improved immensely.
"My communication has been great," Searcy said. "A whole lot clearer than it was last year. Last year I kept second-guessing myself because I didn't want to mess up, but this time around my confidence is way better."
After a Week 1 disaster for the defense, the unit came together nicely in Week 2 to dominate the Kansas City offense. Searcy said the team is looking for more opportunities to duplicate that performance.
"We just took everyday and practiced for no mistakes," Searcy said. "We just wanted to get better each day. We approach everyday with an opportunity to get better."