I started putting together a scouting report for the Browns back on Monday from what I saw in their game against the Raiders. Today I figured I’d break down their roster and give you all an idea of what to expect. Later this week I’ll break down a couple plays so you can see how these things play out on the field.
The Browns have one of the league’s worst run defenses, currently ranked 27th in the league. Their front 7 is lead by MLB D’Qwell Jackson who leads the team with 49 tackles. Strong Side linebacker Scott Fujita and SS TJ Ward are tied for 2nd with 26 tackles.
The problems in run defense, as they always do, start up front with DTs Taylor and Rubin. Neither has been getting much push inside. Weak side LB GoCung has also been mostly ineffective in run support, and has just 11 tackles so far this season.
Against the pass, it’s a completely different story. The Browns currently have the #4 pass defense, though part of that has been because team’s haven’t tried to pass much against the Browns since their run defense has been so poor.
Pressure on the QB has been a team effort. The DTs Taylor and Rubin combine for 5.5 sacks, while DE’s Sheard and Mitchell combine for just 3.5. Of their LB, only MLB Mitchell has been an effective at getting to the QB on the blitz, and he now has 2.5 sacks.
The back line has also been a problem. CB Sheldon Brown is perhaps the only starting CB in the league with less passes defended (2) that Seattle’s Brandon Browner (3). Undersized rookie Buster Skrine will likely make his first start this weekend on the other side. The Browns secondary also lacks ballhawks. FS Adams is the only starter on the team with an interception, and the team only has 3 in 5 games.
The Browns are a predictably bad 30th in the league in running the football. Payton Hillis is the starter and averages just 3.5 yards per carry. The reason problem has been up front though, as the offensive line has really struggled to create running lanes. There’s also been some grumbling that perhaps backup RB Montario Hardesty should be getting more carries, but from what I saw from the game last week, the offense was clearly better with Hillis in the game.
The Browns currently rank 21st in the league in passing offense, but I don’t think they’ve been even that good. The lack of a consistent running game, and the fact that they’ve been playing from behind a lot, means they are passing on most downs. QB Colt McCoy is completely just 55% of his passes and seriously lacks the arms strength to stretch the field.
What the Browns have done well in the passing game is protection; both protecting McCoy and protecting the football. The Browns have given up just 8 sacks in 5 games, compared to 18 for Seattle. McCoy has also thrown just 3 picks oss season, and had 8 TDs.