CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Browns can’t tackle, stop the run or get off the field.
It’s become an annual tradition when discussing the Browns defense and unfortunately it’s not going to be fixed overnight.
Despite a more physical training camp that has included live tackling periods, the Browns continue to flail at opponents like a bunch of matadors. Play after play they whiff, and whiff some more.
“I’m not going to say it’s a consistent problem – we’ve only played two games – but obviously, it’s a sore thumb right now and we need to work through it,” head coach Hue Jackson said Friday after reviewing tape of the 24-13 loss to the Falcons.
In the first half of the first 2 preseason games against Green Bay and Atlanta the Browns have surrendered 417 yards – 145 of them on the ground – combined. They’ve surrendered 6 scoring drives of 9 or more plays and have seen opponents convert 10-of-19 third downs.
“We have to do a better job of tackling. That’s pretty obvious,” Jackson said.
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton continues to mix and match personnel in search of answers but right now there have been very few that have risen to the challenge and answered the bell.
“We’ll continue to look at different combinations to see if we can get the best guys out there,” Jackson said. “I don’t think that we have all the answers just yet or else we would have slowed some other teams down. I think our guys understand what we need to fix, and I think they will come back in here chomping at the bit to get better.”
One If By Land, Two If By…-While the defense continues to cause Jackson much consternation, the explosive offense has him smiling.
Robert Griffin III completed 6-of-8 passes for 96 yards and a pair of touchdowns – a 50-yard deep ball up the far sideline that fell into the hands of Terrelle Pryor and a beautiful 29-yard toss to tight end Gary Barnidge.
“We want to be a dynamic offense that can score whether it is by land or air anytime,” Jackson said. “I think we have those kind of players. It was good to see Isaiah Crowell make some good, strong, physical runs and watch our line block at the point of attack better than the week before. To me, that’s something of a pretty good offense. You couple that with the quarterback who doesn’t turn the ball over and who keeps us in good situations then you have potential to have good things happen.”
Crowell ran 7 times for 28 yards including an 8-yard burst after losing 2 yards on his only official carry at Green Bay that included a fumbled exchange with Griffin and missed blocking assignments.
Cross That Bridge – Jackson did not want to comment on the suspension of K’Waun Williams or a possible return to the team after he refused to play in the preseason opener at Green Bay. Williams left the team and was fined nearly $30,000 and suspended 2 weeks for multiple violations of team rules. Williams sought a second opinion on his ankle and surgery was recommended to remove bone spurs, which contradicted the original diagnosis and course of action.
“I think right now it is a little early to even talk about K’Waun and that situation,” Jackson said. “I think we all know he is suspended. When that is done, then we will take it accordingly from there.”