There has been a lot of focus on the Browns newly-minted offense and with good reason. Additions and upgrades fill the roster at almost every position. We’re all excited to see this unit in action from the quarterbacks to the running backs and the receivers. The expectation is that the offense will be a unit filled with playmakers. It should be fun to watch and should be able to both score some points and give the defense a rest when needed. Wait, did you forget about the defense? Well, probably not entirely.
The QB and the offense almost always get the attention on a good team. It’s normal and it reflects where the game of football is today. Few teams win with a great defense and a bad offense now, so an NFL team’s success really can’t begin until it has a capable offense at the bare minimum. How can I put this gently? The Browns offense hasn’t resembled capable in several seasons. That should change in 2018. That brings us back to the defense. If you can score some points on offense, your defense can then make the difference in the game.
We saw some promise from a few players on the defense last season and those players should continue to grow in 2018. Couple the returning players with the plethora of free agents and draft picks added and there is a reason to be optimistic. The depth will be markedly better than it has been in a long, long time.
Several players will fulfill important roles for this team’s defense. Let’s look at those guys and get a little excited about this Browns defense.
The defensive line will be anchored by a healthy Myles Garrett. Emmanuel Ogbah is back from his foot injury and will hopefully be 100% when the season starts. Both players are key to the success of this defense and it starts and ends with their health. If they can stay healthy, we should see some big numbers from this duo.
Denzel Ward was taken fourth overall in the draft. It can take some time for corners to acclimate themselves to the NFL. Ward has to learn new techniques and play against many of the very best receivers in the league. If he can play like a number one corner this season, it will be a huge boost to this defense and team.
The safety play this season should be greatly improved. After all, the Browns played two strong safeties last season. The Browns now have a true free safety in Demarious Randall and a second-year player in Jabrill Peppers who can play his natural position. The level of play at safety will be a huge factor in the overall performance of the defense.
The Browns added depth at linebacker. None of the linebackers will be more important than Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks will likely be used to rush the quarterback. He is versatile, but the Browns may very well look for their linebackers to help provide pressure if their defensive tackles are once again negligent in their pursuit of the opposing QB. Kendricks is best able to accomplish this.
The Browns defense has enjoyed many upgrades this off-season. They may not be stealing many headlines from Baker Mayfield and company, but be prepared to see a solid unit with flashes of excellence this season. Myles Garrett and his teammates want to be just as memorable as the offense.
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