From the Far Hash: Breaking Down the Browns’ Defense
This week, the Packers are playing the Browns. It’s also the setting for the legendary Throwback Weekend festivities.
I’ve been doing a little traveling of my own, but not for Throwback Weekend. So, unfortunately, my ability and time to watch film of the Browns has taken a significant hit. So, please excuse me if this post is a little shorter than normal.
Ok, without any further adieu, let’s break down the Browns on defense.
They are a base 3-4 team. But, they play the nickel substitution package for greater than 50% of their plays. When they do, they play a similar 2-4-5 hybrid nickel defense that the Baltimore Ravens roll out.
They have outstanding pass rushers, which allows them to “speed up” the pass plays by making the quarterback release the ball quicker than he’d like to. Now, couple that with outstanding cornerbacks playing tight press coverage, the Browns defense is actually pretty formidable.
Joe Haden and Buster Skrine are their cornerbacks, and they are excellent in tight man-to-man press coverage. They often play tight man-to-man coverage with a single-high safety look.
However, it seems like almost every defense the Packers face each week will break their tendencies when facing the Packers’ passing game. That’s right, expect to see a lot of cover 2 man. This squeezes the passing routes and basically suffocates the passing routes. The Browns will be excellent at playing this because their pass rush will get home and their cornerbacks can absolutely lock down the passing routes, especially against the Packers’ massively depleted receiving corps right now.
On paper, the Browns are clearly the inferior team. But, for some reason, they are playing lights out recently. This will be an interesting game for the Packers, to say the least. We’ll have to see how the injury-depleted Packers match up against the stout Browns’ defense.
I expect the Packers’ offense to give the Browns a heavy dose of Eddie Lacy. If the Packers start to get a good running game going, the Browns will have to shift out of their cover 2 man look so they can sneak an eighth man in the box. If they do that, the Packers’ passing should open up a little bit, which will be refreshing due the injuries and uncertainty surrounding this game.