Yesterday we reviewed the problems of the Browns on offense. Today we look at the D.
One of the things that you have to do in a 3-4 is protect the linebackers. Last year with the exception of NT Shaun Rogers, the D line couldn’t protect an ice cube on the North Pole. Rogers was double and triple teamed on every play all year long. That is enough to make anyone cranky. He played at a pro bowl level but got no help against the run or the pass.
Corey Williams and ex-Jet Kenyon Coleman project to start at DE. These two started a total of 31 games last year and had a combined 1 sack (.5 sacks each). That indicates that the DBs are going to have to cover the opponent receivers all day long because the pass rush is non-existent out of the front 3. Williams starts because there is little behind him. Coleman will start because Eric Mangini wants to prove that he is the smartest guy in the building in bringing Coleman with him from the Jets. There is very little quality depth in any of the three spots.
OLB Kamerion Wimbley was drafted in 06 to be the rush linebacker in the 3-4. He totaled 11 sack that year but has only had 9 sacks in the last 32 regular season games. He makes tackles against the run but usually 5 or 6 yards down field. That doesn’t get the job done. His running mate on the other side will be ex-Jet FA David Bowens. Bowens had 4 sacks last year and is decent but has very little tread on the wheels because he is going into his 11th year in the league. He only started 5 games for the Jets last year and was not in the Jets plans in 09.
The inside backers are changed from last season. Another ex-Jet FA, Eric Barton will join last year starter D’Qwell Jackson. Barton replaces Andra Davis who was allowed to go to Denver. Barton is serviceable but is also 31 and in his 11th year. Jackson is solid and has a chance to become a pro bowl backer. He needs to get under control at the point of attack more often.
Despite having drafted several linebackers in the past, there is little quality behind the starters. ILB Leon Williams (2nd round 06) is at best a part time fill in. We haven’t seen enough of Beau Bell (4th 08) to know if he can play. Rookie Kaluka Maiava (4th round 09) looked good at USC when he got on the field. He was the 4th USC LB prospect and has had an injury before the 08 season.
Without a pass rush, these guys are going to have a rough season. Eric Wright will start at one CB. He has played well but suffers from brain cramps at times allowing WRs to get open. Last year starter Brandon McDonald will vie with new comers Roderick Hood (ex-Cardinal) and ex-Jet FA Hank Poteat. McDonald had 5 picks last year but Hood started 14 games and only got 1. Poteat was a nickel back and got 2 picks without a start.
Long time starter UFA SS Sean Jones is gone. The Browns made a contract offer to restricted FA Jet Abram Elam but the Jets matched it. Then the Browns traded down in the draft and got Elam in the deal. Elam started 9 game for the Jets last year but has had only 1 int in 3 years. He will start at SS. Brodney Pool starts at FS again in 09. He has recorded 7 picks in 4 years with the Browns. Depth will be provided by Mike Adams and Nick Sorensen.
The Brown/Green defense will have another tough year. There is very little pass rush, and with the O struggling to run the ball, the D will play a lot of snaps. Browns fans should stock up on antacids in plastic bottles. That way when you throw the bottle at the TV, you won’t break the screen.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .