BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Add defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to the growing list of those within the Browns that just don’t feel the roster is strong enough.
New general manager John Dorsey had no reason to defend the job that was done by Sashi Brown the last 2 years, while head coach Hue Jackson has not so subtly ripped it over the last few weeks in an effort to justify why the Browns have been unable to win a single game this season.
On Friday, Williams joined the party to explain deficiencies on his side of the football that have contributed to the Browns allowing 25.8 points per game (T-29th) or the fact that opponents have scored points on 36 of 38 trips inside the red zone this season (26 touchdowns and 10 field goals).
“We have played to the skillset of who we are right now,” Williams said when asked why opposing quarterbacks’ rating is 103.9, which is ranked 31st. “I have never played this much zone coverage in my life. You guys can figure out why.”
Williams claims that he’s been avoiding playing man-coverage because of personnel, which has led to the Browns being ranked 21st defending the pass allowing 232.3 passing yards per game.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Williams has run zone coverage 65 percent and man coverage 29 percent of the time with the Browns this season and he ran zone 63 percent and man 31 percent last year with the LA Rams.
Much like Jackson, Williams made it clear that it comes down to the players on Sunday afternoon, and when the game starts there is only so much he can do after a long week of preparing his unit.
“Sunday is a player’s day. You can blame me however you want – I’m fine with that – but Sunday is a player’s day. What I do is I don’t want to do anything to distract them. I don’t want to do anything to slow them down. I’m standing over there guessing. They are out there playing. You have to play.”
Williams, who also pointed to the turnover in personnel that his side of the ball has seen due to moves and injuries between the June minicamp and today, disagreed with the notion that tackling continues to be a problem for the Browns.
“We are in the top-4 tackling teams in the National Football League, and this was the worst tackling team in the National Football League last year,” Williams said. “We measure yards after contact. It is one of the best yards after contact teams that I have had a chance to coach. There are a few plays that they play, but when one guy misses a tackle, what are the 11 guys doing? What are the other 10 guys doing? They better be cleaning it up. Otherwise, they are interns for you guys.”
It hasn’t all been bad on Williams’ side of the football. The Browns have shown strong improvement in stopping the run – they are sixth (96.0 yards per game) – and in total defense – they’re ranked 12th (328.3 yards per game) after being ranked 31st in both categories a year ago.
“Right now, they have come a long ways,” Williams said. “They are going to continue to improve. Don’t be shocked at the end of the year on how good and how much they have improved from the start of the year, last year and is comparable to other NFL defenses.”
Owning It – Safety Jabrill Peppers isn’t happy that he’s not made as many game changing or impact plays as he would like so far in his rookie season.
In 10 games Peppers has totaled 43 tackles – 32 solo and 11 assists – while breaking up 2 passes but he’s yet to come up with an interception, force a fumble or recover a loose ball.
Watch what Peppers had to say about trying to win the home finale and the lack of impact plays in the video above.
Record-Breaking Futility – The Browns have lost so many games in recent years it’s starting to get hard to keep track of all the records they are setting for futility.
They’re currently on track for the worst 2 and 3 year stretches in NFL history. Their 4-46 record is the worst over 50 games in league history. They are already the first team in history to be 0-13 2 years in a row and with a loss Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens the Browns would become the first to be 0-14 in consecutive seasons as well.
Here’s another milestone they could hit Sunday with a loss: going winless at home for just the second time ever in franchise history. The first was the 1999 expansion team, which still found a way to win 2 games.
“We talk about that quite a bit surprisingly,” run game coordinator Kirby Wilson said. “I know people might not think that is the case, but we really feel for our fans and we want to do what is right for this city. It is has been a trying season in terms of the lack of the Ws and all of the Ls piling up. We really want to win this ball game for this city and this fan base because they deserve it. They have been so loyal to us, and we would like to give them something to cheer about this Christmas. Hopefully, we can take care of that on Sunday.”
Tunnel Vision – Jackson is confident that rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has not become distracted by talk that the team may make significant changes at the position in the offseason.
“I would hope not at all,” Jackson said Friday. “When you are on the team and playing quarterback, I don’t think you can worry about those things. Just me knowing DeShone, he would tell you he can only worry about what he can control. What he can control is playing well against Baltimore, finishing the season strong. Right now, none of those things matter.”
Kizer is ranked dead last in completion percentage (53.9 percent), interceptions (17) and rating (61.2) and he’s tied for 29th in touchdowns (9) out of 35 qualifying starting quarterbacks in the league this season while Dorsey has been pretty blunt since taking over a week ago as GM about the state of the roster, and especially quarterback.
“John is doing an outstanding job in doing what he needs to do to continue to as we move further put better talent on our team,” Jackson said. “I think he will look at every area of our football team and see how we can become better, but at the same time, we are in the midst of this season. I don’t think any of that talk bothers any of our players.”
Injury Report – DOUBTFUL: CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee); QUESTIONABLE: CB Jamar Taylor (foot), CB Darius Hillary (knee), WR Matt Hazel (hamstring); EXPECTED TO PLAY: RT Shon Coleman (shoulder/thumb), TE David Njoku (foot/wrist), S Jabrill Peppers (knee), DT Danny Shelton (chest/ribs), C JC Tretter (foot), LB Josh Keyes (wrist).