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Analyzing the Snap Counts in Chargers vs. Browns (Defense)

Jason Miller

The Browns' defense was on the field for 69 plays this past Sunday against the Chargers. San Diego wasn't able to sustain the type of lengthy drives that the Colts were able to a week earlier. Even though the weather was terrible, any time your defense holds an opponent without a touchdown, you did your job.

The snap count distributions for the Browns' defenders against the Chargers are listed below. [Week 8 offensive snap counts for Cleveland can be found here]

Defensive Tackle
Billy Winn John Hughes
Ishmaa'ily Kitchen
57/69 plays
52/69 plays
24/69 plays

John Hughes: 2 tackles, 2 assists (4 combined).
Billy Winn: 1 tackle (1 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hit, 1 fumble recovery.
Ishmaa'ily Kitchen: 1 tackle, 1 assist (2 combined).

Thoughts: This might have been the final game in which the Browns featured only rookies at the defensive tackle position. Defensive tackle Billy Winn had one big stretch on back-to-back defensive plays. First he recovered a fumble while sliding (in the rain) toward the out of bounds line, which is pretty good for a big man. Then, on the first play of the next defensive series, he dumped Philip Rivers for a six yard loss (even though it was kind of a coverage sack).

Defensive End
Jabaal Sheard
Frostee Rucker Juqua Parker
Brian Sanford
Emmanuel Stephens
59/69 plays
38/69 plays
26/69 plays
15/69 plays
5/69 plays

Juqua Parker: 2 tackles, 1 assist (3 combined). 2 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback hit.
Jabaal Sheard: 2 assists (2 combined).
Emmanuel Stephens: 1 tackle (1 combined).
Frostee Rucker: No stats registered.
Brian Sanford: No stats registered.

Thoughts: This was the first time the Browns used five defensive ends in a game this year, but I think their intention was to have some extra help at the defensive tackle position. Unfortunately, Emmanuel Stephens suffered a neck injury during the first quarter against the Chargers, which is why Brian Sanford saw some reps the same week he was promoted to the active roster. I anticipate we'll see Sanford fulfill Stephens' reps from here on out. Juqua Parker had one big play in which he fought off his blocker and brought down Ryan Mathews for a loss of five yards.

D'Qwell Jackson James-Michael Johnson Kaluka Maiava
Craig Robertson
69/69 plays
44/69 plays
44/69 plays
23/69 plays

D'Qwell Jackson: 6 tackles, 8 assists (14 combined).
James-Michael Johnson: 5 tackles, 5 assists (10 combined). 1 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble.
Kaluka Maiava: 4 tackles, 4 assists (8 combined).
Craig Robertson: 1 assist (1 combined).

Thoughts: Wow -- for the first time this season I believe, the Browns got to play in their traditional 4-3 defense more than their nickel package! That means James-Michael Johnson and Kaluka Maiava saw their heaviest workload of the far...and they responded. All of the linebackers responded, in fact, for what was probably the unit's best game since Week 1, when they did a number on Michael Vick. Johnson forced a fumble, and I noticed Maiava for the first time this season. Jackson had a season-high 14 combined tackles.

Joe Haden Sheldon Brown Buster Skrine
69/69 plays
69/69 plays
25/69 plays

Joe Haden: 5 tackles, 3 assists (8 combined).
Sheldon Brown:
2 tackles (2 combined).
Buster Skrine: 2 tackles (2 combined). 1 pass defended.

Thoughts: The cornerbacks weren't targeted a whole lot, but when they were, they didn't let their guard down too much. Joe Haden seemed to assist more against the run than Sheldon Brown did. Again, with the nickel package not being used, Buster Skrine saw one of his lighter workloads of the season, but still came away with a big tip on fourth down to end the game.

T.J. Ward Usama Young
Eric Hagg
69/69 plays
69/69 plays
2/69 plays

Usama Young: 4 tackles, 3 assists (7 combined). 2 passes defended.
T.J. Ward:
2 tackles (2 combined). 1 quarterback hit.

Thoughts: The safeties were fortunate that Robert Meachem dropped a pass, otherwise they could've cost Cleveland the game. When Rivers tried to throw two deep passes, I believe Usama Young twice almost came away with interceptions.

History of Snap Counts on Defense:

-Week 1: Philadelphia vs. Cleveland
-Week 2: Cleveland vs. Cincinnati
-Week 3: Buffalo vs. Cleveland
-Week 4: Cleveland vs. Baltimore
-Week 5: Cleveland vs. New York Giants
-Week 6: Cincinnati vs. Cleveland
-Week 7: Cleveland vs. Indianapolis