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#1527505 - 10/11/18 11:58 AM Film Room: Browns Defense
Haus Offline

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I came across this and thought it was a good read. They make mention of Cleveland being ranked #2 in defensive DVOA at -20.0% (this is that site's brand of analytics, where negative numbers mean less points and are therefore good for the defense.)

There are a lot of good links in there as well as some animated gifs to show key plays, with emphasis on plays made by Denzel Ward and Larry Ogunjobi.

..

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/film-room/2018/film-room-browns-defense

Film Room: Browns Defense
by Derrik Klassen

The Cleveland Browns last had a winning record in 2014, when they got off to a 7-4 start with Brian Hoyer at quarterback. Unfortunately, they lost each of their final five games that year and missed out on the playoffs once again. In the three following seasons, the Browns amassed a whopping 4-44 record which included a winless season in 2017. With a win this weekend, the Browns could free themselves from that cloud of loss and misery by climbing above .500 for the first time in four years.

As will always be the case, Cleveland's quarterback has received a bulk of the praise for the team finally looking competitive again. Rookie Baker Mayfield is as sharp and well-equipped as young quarterbacks come, and he has delivered early on the promise general manager John Dorsey saw in him when he selected the signal-caller with the first overall pick in April's draft. Cleveland's offense is still far from a top-notch unit, but Mayfield's three performances have produced better results than what the team was getting out of Tyrod Taylor. Mayfield has made the offense look competent, and as sad as it may be, that is a notable step up for the Browns.

Without taking away from Mayfield's impact, however, it is the Browns' defense that has been the primary catalyst for their success. I know, I know, a Gregg Williams defense being the reason a team is winning is a mind-boggling concept, but that has been the case for Cleveland in 2018. Through five games this year, Cleveland's defense ranks second in the league per DVOA, edging out the likes of Jacksonville and Baltimore. Their defensive prowess is not the result of playing a breeze of a schedule, either. Cleveland's schedule ranks eighth in difficulty, making for a much larger task than Chicago's 24th-ranked schedule or Baltimore's 30th-ranked schedule.

Pass defense is the crucial difference between this year's defense and last year's. Cleveland boasted a monstrous fourth-ranked run defense in 2017, but their 26th-ranked pass defense negated any efforts made by the front seven. The team tried to scrape by with veteran cast-offs such as Jamar Taylor and Jason McCourty at cornerback, but the low-cost experiment failed and led to drastic, necessary changes in the offseason.

Cleveland brought in a slew of new defensive backs to be key contributors in 2018, but we'll focus here on thre of them: T.J. Carrie via free agency, Damarious Randall via a trade with the Green Bay Packers, and Denzel Ward out of Ohio State with the fourth overall selection in the draft. Carrie and Randall have both enjoyed varying degrees of success in Williams' defense and are a step up from what the team fielded a year ago. Ward, to the surprise of few, already looks like a bona fide star and has elevated the performance of the entire defense.

In addition to being a pro-ready technician out of college, Ward is a video game-like athlete. Though his 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame is on the smaller side, Ward's 4.32-second 40-yard dash (97th percentile) and 136-inch broad jump (98th percentile) make for an explosive athletic profile. Ward has the speed to run stride-for-stride with the NFL's best deep threats as well as to fire downhill to defend slant routes and handle the flat area.

One particular series versus Baltimore showcased the breadth of Ward's skill set.


Ward is matched up over John Brown in the slot on this play. Brown has been a dominant deep threat this season with seven catches of at least 20 yards, tied with DeSean Jackson for most in the NFL. Whereas most cornerbacks have struggled to match Brown down the field this year, Ward finds no issue in turning with Brown, latching onto his hip, and keeping up with each step. Joe Flacco's throw sailed a few yards over Brown anyway, but had the ball been in Brown's vicinity, Ward was in position to contest the catch point.

The following play, Ward was asked to cover Michael Crabtree on the outside on a third-and-7. Crabtree, a big-bodied receiver with excellent yards-after-catch ability, normally has the advantage in that scenario, but Ward put the clamps on him like he had done to Brown the play before.


Due to an off-coverage alignment, Ward ends up conceding a clean catch point, but that is typical of third-and-medium or -long situations. So long as a cornerback can rally to the receiver and stop them before they turn up the field toward the first-down marker, the reception itself does not matter. Ward does just that by instantly closing the gap between himself and Crabtree as the ball is in the air. Ward is able to corral Crabtree to the ground before Crabtree can gather himself and pick up the first down. In fact, though Ward never directly attacked the catch point, Ward's tackle lead to Crabtree failing to complete the process of the catch, resulting in an incomplete pass. Incomplete or not, Ward's explosion and effort to come downhill and hit Crabtree before he had a chance to get past the first-down marker is a noteworthy skill of Ward's and something that regularly pops up on film.

These two plays are excellent on their own, but they also highlight how Ward can move around the formation to attack the offense's best threat on a given play. In previous seasons, the Browns have not had a cornerback who could reliably move around to match different types of receivers from different alignments. Ward providing the defense with that type of shutdown presence eases some pressure off of the rest of the secondary.

Ward's early impact, as well as solid efforts from a number of veteran additions, have propelled the Browns' defense to a No. 2 rank in pass defense DVOA. In a passing league, a revived secondary has gone a long way toward making the Browns a good team.

The Browns also remain stout up front due to the star power they acquired in last year's draft. Defensive end Myles Garrett has rapidly ascended into the pantheon of elite NFL pass rushers. Garrett has racked up five sacks in five games so far, good for fifth in the league and only one sack behind league-leaders Geno Atkins and the Watt brothers. With his blend of power and bend around the corner, Garrett should only continue to punish opposing quarterbacks as the season goes on.

Cleveland's other, lesser-known star on the defensive line is defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. Ogunjobi posted a good rookie season in 2017, but has blossomed into a special run defender and a semi-truck of a pass rusher. Ogunjobi's skill set is a perfect match for Garrett's explosive, sometimes reckless style on the edge.


Ogunjobi is particularly effective against zone concepts, and he puts that on display here. Ogunjobi is lined up over the Jets' center before the snap for this play. As the ball is snapped, the play unfolds as an outside zone to the left, leaving Ogunjobi between the center and the right guard. If executed by the offensive line correctly, the center will knock Ogunjobi into the right guard so that the guard can make his way over and earn the leverage on Ogunjobi. The center's attempt to stave off Ogunjobi is futile, however, and Ogunjobi pushes through the block so as to never allow the right guard to get a proper angle on him. Ogunjobi splitting the two linemen means that the running back can not cut the play back, forcing him to run straight into linebacker Jamie Collins. It is not the flashy 8-yard tackle for loss you might see from Aaron Donald, but it is a damn good football play.

Ogunjobi can provide those splash plays from time to time, though, especially in the pass game. As of now, Ogunjobi is Cleveland's leader in pass rush pressures with 12 (subscription required). Ogunjobi has converted three of those opportunities into sacks, which does not include a sack that was taken away from him due to a defensive holding penalty during the New Orleans Saints game. While Garrett works around the edge and forces quarterbacks to scoot up, Ogunjobi blows up opposing centers and guards to collapse the pocket in front of the quarterback.

Like his teammate Ward, Ogunjobi is a fantastic athlete at his position, posting a handful of 75th percentile or better marks at the NFL combine in 2017. His 116-inch broad jump (96th percentile) was the highlight of his performance. When Ogunjobi gets clean opportunities to rush the passer, his explosion and closing speed often show up.


All it took for Ogunjobi to win this rep was a club to the center's left arm. In doing so, Ogunjobi was able to leverage himself to the outside of the center while also halting the blocker's attempt to slide in front of Ogunjobi. The sliver of space Ogunjobi created for himself was all he needed to burst past the center and bring down Drew Brees before the quarterback had a real chance to survey the field. Plays like this are why Ogunjobi leads the team in pressures and trails only Garrett in sacks.

The rest of Cleveland's front is filled out by young, quality starters and a strong two-deep. Players such as defensive tackle Trevon Coley and outside linebacker Genard Avery are not premier names, but both serve important roles on the team. Coley is a stable run-defending presence alongside Ogunjobi, while Avery serves as a promising young pass rusher and versatile piece for Cleveland's aggressive front. Second-year defensive back Jabrill Peppers has also come into his own as a box player, showing off the aggression and short-area range that made him a star at Michigan.

What the Browns have going for them now is a healthy blend of stability and young, growing talent. Stars such as Garrett, Ward, and Ogunjobi are clear centerpieces for the defense, but no one position group is lacking in talent. There is functional NFL caliber play across the board, even if Williams still sometimes fails to put them in proper position to succeed.

Hosting the Los Angeles Chargers this week, Cleveland has a chance to prove they have a legitimate defense and a competitive franchise. The Chargers enter this game with the third-ranked offense in DVOA, buoyed by their third-ranked passing offense. To this point, Cleveland has faced a couple of quality passing offenses, including the Saints, but Philip Rivers' Chargers attack is among the most lethal in the league right now.

Slowing down Rivers' race back to the top of the AFC West would be monumental for this developing Browns team. It was the Chargers who gave the Browns their only win during the previous two seasons, so it would only be fitting for them to be the team who allow the Browns to achieve a winning record for the first time in four years.

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#1527524 - 10/11/18 12:37 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
Dawgs4Life Offline

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Defense will be the key this game IMO. Rivers is SO good and they have weapons all over the place.

We must have a good game plan to pressure, while not creating mismatches and space

I'll be curious to see how we defend them
_________________________
"First down as we threaten again. A score here puts us in the Super Bowl. Odell is far to the left as Landry settles into the slot. Njoku is flanked out wide to the right. Chubb and Hunt are split in the backfield as Baker takes the snap ... Here we go."

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#1527653 - 10/11/18 04:18 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
drobs Offline

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Very interesting read. The writer obviously doesnít rate Williams. Each to their own but I wonder which DCs would be better here? I think Williams is over aggressive and sometimes itís very obvious what we do but the D is playing v well. Apologies for the slight off topic but Iíve read a few places where Williams is rubbished. Iím not defending or otherwise but would welcome a more educated view as I believe the criticism is harsh based on what I see. Our D is playing well. Surely the co-ord deserves credit?


Edited by drobs (10/11/18 04:19 PM)

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#1527666 - 10/11/18 04:33 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: drobs]
PrplPplEater Offline

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Perhaps moreso than other defenses, Williams' defense is highly dependent upon having the horses to run it. That's simply because he is so aggressive. If you get aggressive but don't have the players to pull it off, you'll get burned. Badly. A lot.

Well, we have some serious thoroughbreds and we're able to pull off being this aggressive. We will still give up big plays now and again because that comes with the territory - you aren't going to win on every play. The goal is to simply win more than you lose and keep points off the board as much as possible.
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#1527679 - 10/11/18 05:06 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
drobs Offline

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Thanks Purp. I see exactly what you say and I think the D achieves that. I think Williams deserves more credit than he gets. However letís see how we go rest of the year.

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#1527683 - 10/11/18 05:14 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
cfrs15 Offline

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Awesome read, thanks for posting.

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#1527685 - 10/11/18 05:21 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
Bard Dawg Offline

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Can we get to him while he is holding the ball. Blitz scheme and more vanilla pressure will help. Need some brutality and a few takeaways.
My thanks. This was a great read. Hadn't looked there before, but Sunday is Judgment Day.
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#1528004 - 10/12/18 01:29 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
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#1528018 - 10/12/18 02:14 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: GratefulDawg]
drobs Offline

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Originally Posted By: GratefulDawg

That was really fun to watch. So much for not disguising blitzes...

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#1528024 - 10/12/18 02:22 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: drobs]
mgh888 Offline

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Yep - great to watch and see it broken down.

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#1528152 - 10/12/18 06:24 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
ThomasE Offline
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not that he merits it but no mention of ogbah at all

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#1528190 - 10/12/18 08:26 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: GratefulDawg]
Versatile Dog Offline

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I wonder if certain posters will retract some of their statements about how obvious our blitz packages are or if they will ignore this and the and one I posted in the Game Day forum and continue to bash Williams?

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#1528409 - 10/13/18 01:14 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: GratefulDawg]
eotab Offline

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Nice execution which we are seeing more and more in year two in this defense and actually every week more and more progress wink Hope they are on fire this weekend with Rivers!
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#1528520 - 10/13/18 07:23 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: eotab]
Bard Dawg Offline

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I think Rivers can be broken mentally and beaten. But he is really good, and he has a lot of toys to hurt you with.
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#1528522 - 10/13/18 07:26 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Bard Dawg]
Versatile Dog Offline

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Broken down mentally? Dude is one of the toughest guys in the NFL.

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#1528529 - 10/13/18 07:45 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Versatile Dog]
Dave Offline

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Originally Posted By: Versatile Dog
Broken down mentally? Dude is one of the toughest guys in the NFL.


Agree - he's a future HOF'er IMO.

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#1528531 - 10/13/18 07:50 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
Dawgs4Life Offline

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Rivers is so smart and seasoned .. no way to fool him IMO
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"First down as we threaten again. A score here puts us in the Super Bowl. Odell is far to the left as Landry settles into the slot. Njoku is flanked out wide to the right. Chubb and Hunt are split in the backfield as Baker takes the snap ... Here we go."

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#1528534 - 10/13/18 08:10 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Versatile Dog]
tru_dawgs Offline

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Originally Posted By: Versatile Dog
Broken down mentally? Dude is one of the toughest guys in the NFL.
Agreed 100 percent...Bar none, just a top notch QB that never gets the recognition he deserves...Very unorthodox delivery, but has amazing zip, placement, and his touch is perfect. Guy gets up after huge hits and has that fire his teammates love.

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#1528555 - 10/13/18 09:50 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Versatile Dog]
bonefish Offline

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Funny. I read that and had the same reaction.

Our best strategy against him is to keep the ball away from him.

He eats blitzes. Gets rid of the ball very quickly.

There is no rattling him. He has seen it all.

We have to be very disciplined defensively.

Try to possess the ball.

Another tough game.

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#1528641 - 10/14/18 05:03 AM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: bonefish]
Dawgs4Life Offline

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Originally Posted By: bonefish
Funny. I read that and had the same reaction.

Our best strategy against him is to keep the ball away from him.

He eats blitzes. Gets rid of the ball very quickly.

There is no rattling him. He has seen it all.

We have to be very disciplined defensively.

Try to possess the ball.

Another tough game.
well said
_________________________
"First down as we threaten again. A score here puts us in the Super Bowl. Odell is far to the left as Landry settles into the slot. Njoku is flanked out wide to the right. Chubb and Hunt are split in the backfield as Baker takes the snap ... Here we go."

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#1528674 - 10/14/18 09:34 AM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: bonefish]
CalDawg Offline

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Originally Posted By: bonefish
Funny. I read that and had the same reaction.

Our best strategy against him is to keep the ball away from him.

He eats blitzes. Gets rid of the ball very quickly.

There is no rattling him. He has seen it all.

We have to be very disciplined defensively.

Try to possess the ball.

Another tough game.


Yes, this will likely be a tough game, Rivers is playing lights out this year, with 70% completions and only two INTs so far this year. He completed 81.5% percent of his passes against the Raiders and is averaging 300 yards/game and 2.6 TDs.

BUT

His two losses came against the Rams & the Chiefs, both undefeated, and his three wins came against a Garoppolo-less 49er team, the Raiders, and the Bills. none of which are lighting up the league. Rivers has also historically been interception prone and I would like to think the Browns are closer to the Rams & Chiefs than the Raiders and Bills, particularly on D. Sure, our defense will have their work cut out for them, but so will Rivers. We will be facing one of the toughest defenses he's had to face so far this year and if tendency and odds come into play while meeting a ball hawking D then it's entirely possible we come away with a pick or two. That's not counting potential fumbles or strips. After all, we lead the league in turnover ratio. Lead. The. League.

If I were Rivers, I'd be more concerned about our D, than I personally am about Rivers. The Browns needs to go out and execute, and let the rest take care of itself.

JMHO
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#1529755 - 10/14/18 04:51 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: CalDawg]
CalDawg Offline

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Never mind. Disregard everything I posted except the first part.
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"Don't pass on real players." --John Dorsey

"If you don't wear brown and orange, you don't matter." --Freddie Kitchens

#gmstrong

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#1529766 - 10/14/18 05:22 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: CalDawg]
CHSDawg Offline
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You weren't too far off. We had a lot of missed opportunities for turnovers today.
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#1529769 - 10/14/18 05:28 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: CHSDawg]
CalDawg Offline

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Well, we certainly didn't "go out and execute". tongue
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"Don't pass on real players." --John Dorsey

"If you don't wear brown and orange, you don't matter." --Freddie Kitchens

#gmstrong

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#1529810 - 10/14/18 06:55 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
BuckDawg1946 Offline

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Get rid of the white one white uniform combinations, Iím not making excuses, but players play better when they feel like they look good.

More brown, more orange.

A case study shows Kinnick stadium in Iowa, gets a competitive advantage by painting the visitor locker rooms being pink, not saying Iowa doesnít produce talent.

The browns are 2-0 in their color rush, brown uniforms. The chargers are a better team, thatís not why we lost, just invoke confidence in your gear, we know what doesnít work.
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#1529826 - 10/14/18 07:12 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: CalDawg]
Dawgs4Life Offline

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Originally Posted By: CalDawg
Never mind. Disregard everything I posted except the first part.
brownie
_________________________
"First down as we threaten again. A score here puts us in the Super Bowl. Odell is far to the left as Landry settles into the slot. Njoku is flanked out wide to the right. Chubb and Hunt are split in the backfield as Baker takes the snap ... Here we go."

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#1529867 - 10/14/18 08:16 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
SuperBrown Offline

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The Browns defense was quite offensive today.

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#1529871 - 10/14/18 08:19 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: SuperBrown]
Tulsa Offline

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Originally Posted By: SuperBrown
The Browns defense was quite offensive today.


and in the post-game pressers, the offensive was quite defensive.
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#1529877 - 10/14/18 08:24 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Tulsa]
Dawgs4Life Offline

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Originally Posted By: Tulsa
Originally Posted By: SuperBrown
The Browns defense was quite offensive today.


and in the post-game pressers, the offensive was quite defensive.
yeah, we were backwards all day
_________________________
"First down as we threaten again. A score here puts us in the Super Bowl. Odell is far to the left as Landry settles into the slot. Njoku is flanked out wide to the right. Chubb and Hunt are split in the backfield as Baker takes the snap ... Here we go."

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#1535978 - 10/23/18 06:40 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
cfrs15 Offline

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#1535986 - 10/23/18 06:45 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: cfrs15]
Versatile Dog Offline

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Thank you, Mr. Ward.

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#1535988 - 10/23/18 06:46 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Versatile Dog]
Versatile Dog Offline

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That was much too simplistic. Sorry about that. But, he is playing very well.

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#1536006 - 10/23/18 07:12 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Versatile Dog]
DeputyDawg Offline
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Originally Posted By: Versatile Dog
That was much too simplistic. Sorry about that. But, he is playing very well.


It is simplistic, but I've been checking the math and from what I have calculated.....



















Ward + Garrett = Win

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#1536008 - 10/23/18 07:13 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: DeputyDawg]
cfrs15 Offline

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Originally Posted By: DeputyDawg
Ward + Garrett = [Almost] Win

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#1536010 - 10/23/18 07:16 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: DeputyDawg]
Versatile Dog Offline

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It's pretty amazing that we have maybe got 3 excellent players in the last two drafts at the 3 most important positions on a team.

QB, Edge rusher, CB.

I do have to say that acquiring Randall was huge, too.

One more thing. I hated Gregg Williams because of his bounty gate stuff. I don't believe in playing the game that way. But, he's doing a good job w/our D. I think one of the reasons the passer rating for opponents is so low is because of all the turnovers we are forcing on D. That's because GW brings pressure. It might backfire at times, but big plays are big plays and turnovers are huge in the NFL.

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#1536018 - 10/23/18 07:30 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Haus]
DeputyDawg Offline
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Yeah, I was pretty unimpressed when we traded for Randall. At first I thought he was a less than average CB, but while I felt better, I didn't think he'd be the total answer when I found out he was playing FS either.

Not only did he shock the heck out of me at FS, he also showed me I was wrong about his skills as a CB as well.

I knew GW was going to turn this defense into a machine, I just didn't think it would happen this early.

When the offense starts clicking, the job of the defense is going to get easier too.

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#1536021 - 10/23/18 07:36 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: DeputyDawg]
Versatile Dog Offline

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Quote:
When the offense starts clicking, the job of the defense is going to get easier too.


I agree w/all of what you said, but want to focus on this one for a moment.

The D has been catching some grief, but I think they get worn down at times because they lack depth and the O puts them in a lot of bad spots.

I think the D will improve significantly once the O finds more chemistry and doesn't have so many short possessions.

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#1536022 - 10/23/18 07:37 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: DeputyDawg]
lampdogg Offline

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I think we're just a couple more pieces away on D: one more solid-to-above average player on each level, if that.

I thought Mitchell was playing well until he got hurt, btw. I like him as a corner, and Randall has been a nice surprise.

We've given up a tonne of yards in some games, and a lot of points to the Raiders and chargers, but we have a D with lots of room to grow. Garrett, Ogbah, & Ward are players only beginning to scratch the surface.

One more season guys, and we will be a force on D.
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2020: The Browns take the North.

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#1536030 - 10/23/18 07:52 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Versatile Dog]
DeputyDawg Offline
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Originally Posted By: Versatile Dog
Quote:
When the offense starts clicking, the job of the defense is going to get easier too.


I agree w/all of what you said, but want to focus on this one for a moment.

The D has been catching some grief, but I think they get worn down at times because they lack depth and the O puts them in a lot of bad spots.

I think the D will improve significantly once the O finds more chemistry and doesn't have so many short possessions.


It's the biggest problem for the defense and I'll go as far as to say it was the biggest problem for them last year as well.

When the other team is even or has the lead, they can run any freaking play that they want. Every player's job on the defense is that much harder. You often have to cover more space. Add to that constantly being on the field, because the offense can't eat any clock, and you are physically and mentally tired. When this happens game after game you are emotionally tired and expect the meltdown.

Now when you have the lead, it's lunchtime. The other offense starts to abandon the run more and you can pin your ears back a little more. Your DC doesn't feel as bad resting a starter a bit on the d-line. When you are up more than two scores, you can go into prevent with a few minutes left. You might not know what plays they will run, but you'll sure as heck know the ones they won't run.


Edited by DeputyDawg (10/23/18 08:03 PM)

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#1536031 - 10/23/18 07:53 PM Re: Film Room: Browns Defense [Re: Versatile Dog]
bonefish Offline

Hall of Famer

Registered: 04/03/07
Posts: 6008
Loc: Back in Atl. Ga.
Last year we were not to good at creating turnovers.

It stuck in the craw of Williams. It was an area he intended to improve this year.

Not only are we getting picks but when you look at the fumbles it is no accident. We are punching the ball going for rips.

The turn around is impressive.

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