Cleveland Browns Defense Has Time To Improve

Cleveland Browns Defense Has Time To Improve

Danny Cunningham
3 years ago
3 min read
Cleveland Browns Defense Has Time To Improve

Through the first two games of the season the Browns are where many people thought they would be, even if it hasn’t exactly looked the way people thought it would. 

The Week 1 loss to Kansas City was encouraging enough that it lead to the belief the Browns were ready to play with the NFL’s best and challenge to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history. The Week 2 win over Houston was underwhelming enough to force the brakes to be pumped on those very same notions. As for the truth? Well, that’s somewhere in the middle.

The biggest issue for the Browns so far this season has been the fact that the defense hasn’t looked great yet. The addition of as many as nine new starters hasn’t created an immediate transformation to a top-10 defensive unit, at least not through two weeks. While that may be disappointing to some, ultimately, this is something that was always going to take time to happen.

Think back to last season, the Browns finished with an offense that was able to score over 30 points a game to win games, despite the fact that the defense wasn’t really good enough to help win games. But that wasn’t always the case early on, either. The Browns were held to just six points in the season-opening loss to Baltimore, and just seven points in the loss to Pittsburgh in the middle of October. The team also went through a stretch of inclement weather that saw just two offensive touchdowns scored in a three-week stretch against the Raiders, Texans, and Eagles.

Point being, the Browns offense was a work in progress last year before ultimately becoming something that struck fear into the hearts of its opponents down the stretch of the season. It’s only fair to give the defense time this year before it’s expected to do the same this year.

It’s silly to write off the Browns defense after just two games, and things did look better against Houston than they did Kansas City, despite Texans’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor looking awfully good before he left with a hamstring injury at halftime. This week, the Browns are facing a rookie quarterback in Justin Fields of Chicago in his first career NFL start.

Furthermore, the Browns should be getting closer to the point of being able to do multiple things well on the defensive side of the football. The more linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah shows he can do, and the same with safety Grant Delpit, the more creative and aggressive defensive coordinator Joe Woods can become with his play calls.

The one realistic gripe that can be made of Woods’ defense thus far is the lack of aggressiveness on the outside. It certainly feels as if the Browns have been allowing too many open throws for quarterback very early in progressions. The Browns enter Week 3 with the fifth-best win rate on the pass rush, but the defensive line has only accounted for a pair of sacks in the first two games. That means quarterbacks are able to get the ball out abnormally fast, allowing less time for the likes of Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, and Takk Mckinley to actually get the quarterback to the ground. If Woods directs corners Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome to crowd the line of scrimmage a bit more in coverage, that certainly could change things in a big way.

Overall, the Browns haven’t been good enough defensively through the first two weeks to be a Super Bowl caliber team. If this team wants to reach its goals, it is going to have to mightily improve on that side of the football. The good news is that the Super Bowl isn’t played in Week 3, and the Browns have plenty of time to grow together defensively and figure things out.

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