Cleveland Browns: Bringing Back Anthony Walker Jr Will Revive Browns Defense

Cleveland Browns: Bringing Back Anthony Walker Jr Will Revive Browns Defense

Mac Blank
1 year ago
2 min read
Cleveland Browns linebacker Anthony Walker Jr during team workout

It was announced last week that the Browns have officially re-signed linebacker Anthony Walker Jr to a one year deal for 1.2 million. 

Leadership Back In Brown And Orange

Not only was this a great signing because the team got a starter at a position of need for cheap, they now have their defensive captain back on the field and in the building. 

While it’s hard to quantify the impact of leadership, it’s easy to quantify how bad the defense was after his season ending injury Week 3 of last year. In the 16 games he played for the Brown and Orange, the Browns gave up an average of 112.3 rushing yards per game. 

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Walker Jr = Production

This number increased 30% when Walker wasn’t on the field, as the defense allowed a staggering 146 total rushing yards per game. That 146 rushing yards on average given up would be the fourth highest average in the league if it was through all 17 games. 

Walker’s absence last season caused many communication errors as in most defenses, the best starting linebacker relays the play call from his defensive coordinator and lines up the defense. 

With Walker out and communication errors becoming the norm, the defense took a huge step back overall even though the roster was practically the same as 2021. The Browns defense went from 12th in yards per carry down to 25th, and from third in yards per completed pass to 14th, giving up a half yard more on average in both categories. 

While it’s dramatic to blame this solely on the loss of the team’s best linebacker, it’s fair to say his return to the team will definitely help change this defense from a liability to dependable. 

In the end, the re-signing made sense on all levels. Anthony Walker Jr when healthy held this defense together like glue and his extremely team friendly salary was the icing on top when they decided to retain him for the 2023 season. 

General Manager Andrew Berry and the rest of the front office made it their mission to improve this defense, as that side of the ball needed re-tooled if the Browns want to make it back to the playoffs. Safe to say with this deal, they are one step closer to their goal. 

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