It's been awhile since I've recapped the columns that Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer writes. With the Browns already having played this week, Pluto brought up an interesting note today regarding the nose tackle position:
In the past two games, the Browns have allowed 75 yards (Pittsburgh) and 91 yards (San Diego) on the ground, a dramatic change for a team that had been being run over for 155 yards per game. The Browns believe part of the reason is Ahtyba Rubin taking over at nose tackle for the injured Shaun Rogers. They've discovered that Rubin does a better job of clogging up the middle against the run. Rogers is the better pass rusher and far more athletic. Next season, this could lead to Rubin being in the middle of the 3-4 defense with Rogers as one of the ends.
Surprisingly, the run defense has seemed better without Rogers in the lineup. As Pluto mentions, that's not a "dig" at Rogers, but more so shines light on the opportunity of having Rubin and Rogers in the lineup at the same time next year. Combine that with the creative schemes of pass rushing Rob Ryan has unleashed recently (Matt Roth, Marcus Benard, etc), and our defense could be on the right track for next season.
Pluto also discusses the unique defense that Ryan called during some of the passing situations, using five linebackers, six defensive backs, and no defensive linemen. It worked against Ben Roethlisberger Thursday, just like it worked for Eric Mangini against him two years ago:
The coaches showed the players the 2007 game between the Jets and Steelers when the 4-12 Jets upset Pittsburgh, sacking Roethlisberger seven times. In their 27-14 loss at Pittsburgh, the Browns were not able to get players to rush Roethlisberger from the proper angles. This time, they did.
Click here for the rest of Pluto's column, where he discusses the benefits that have come from the team's "opportunity sessions," how the Browns have been better off without Braylon Edwards and Jamal Lewis, and how there has been a change in attitude for defensive lineman Corey Williams.
Week 14 Games
Since the Browns already played this week, you can use this thread as an open discussion for all of today's games. If you're living in the Cleveland area, then there will be a lot of great games to catch on television. That's what happens when the Browns don't clog up one of the timeslots.
- Cincinnati Bengals vs. Minnesota Vikings - 1:00 PM on CBS
- New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons - 1:00 PM on FOX
- San Diego Chargers vs. Dallas Cowboys - 4:00 PM on CBS
- Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants - 8:20 PM on NBC
I think this will be the first time this season I'll have a chance to watch Drew Brees and the Saints' offense live as opposed to just seeing the highlights of their routs. There are two other important games being played today -- Indianapolis vs. Denver and Miami vs. Jacksonville.