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Browns vs. Steelers: Analyzing the Snap Counts (Defense)

Looking at the defensive snap counts in the Browns' 20-7 loss to the Steelers.

Karl Walter

The Browns' defense was missing too many starters to win the battle against the Steelers, although they did force two interceptions and actually sacked Ben Roethlisberger once this time around. The snap count distributions for the Browns' defenders against the Steelers are listed below. [Week 17 offensive snap counts for Cleveland can be found here]

Defensive Line
Ahtyba Rubin Billy Winn Ishmaa'ily Kitchen Brian Sanford Armonty Bryant
50/62 plays
42/62 plays
37/62 plays
18/62 plays
18/62 plays

Ahtyba Rubin: 1 assist (1 combined).
Armonty Bryant: 1 assist (1 combined).
Billy Winn: 3 tackles, 1 assist (4 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hit.
Ishmaa'ily Kitchen: 1 tackle, 2 assists (3 combined).
Brian Sanford: 1 assist (1 combined).

Thoughts: Cleveland was without NT Phil Taylor and DE John Hughes, but why was NT Ishmaa'ily Kitchen allowed to play so many snaps compared to Taylor? I really wish someone would have asked Ray Horton about Taylor's snaps during the season. DE Billy Winn had a nice sack, but he also whiffed on a potential tackle for a loss that led to a touchdown.

Inside Linebacker
D'Qwell Jackson Craig Robertson
Darius Eubanks
62/62 plays
55/62 plays
5/62 plays

D'Qwell Jackson: 5 tackles, 4 assists (9 combined).
Craig Robertson: 4 tackles, 2 assists (6 combined). 1 interception, 1 pass defended.
Darius Eubanks: No stats registered.

Thoughts: Besides the interception from ILB Craig Robertson, what else is there to say with this group again? I suppose Pittsburgh didn't exploit their weakness in pass coverage like some other teams have.

Outside Linebacker
Jabaal Sheard Paul Kruger
Barkevious Mingo
Eric Martin
43/62 plays
36/62 plays
29/62 plays
6/62 plays

Paul Kruger: 5 tackles, 2 assists (7 combined). 1 forced fumble.
Barkevious Mingo: 1 tackle, 1 assist (2 combined).
Jabaal Sheard: 3 tackles, 1 assist (4 combined). 1 pass defended.
Eric Martin: 1 tackle, 1 assist (2 combined).

Thoughts: Once again, this group didn't have a single sack. Inexcusable. Heading into next season, I really have to question whether Jabaal Sheard, Paul Kruger, and Barkevious Mingo are even a threatening trio or not. Hopefully, of the three, Mingo improves the most during the offseason.

Leon McFadden Julian Posey Buster Skrine
59/62 plays
52/62 plays
16/62 plays

Buster Skrine: 1 tackle (1 combined).
Leon McFadden: 2 tackles, 3 assists (5 combined). 1 pass defended.
Julian Posey: 1 tackle, 2 assists (3 combined).

Thoughts: CB Joe Haden was already out, and CB Buster Skrine left early with a shoulder injury after he oddly tackled Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell with his back. The other cornerbacks held their own for the rest of the game, all things considered.

T.J. Ward
Tashaun Gipson Jordan Poyer
62/62 plays
62/62 plays
30/62 plays

T.J. Ward: 2 tackles, 6 assists (8 combined).
Tashaun Gipson: 3 tackles, 3 assists (6 combined). 1 interception, 1 pass defended.
Jordan Poyer: 2 tackles (2 combined).

Thoughts: After the injury to Skrine, it looked like Tashaun Gipson saw some of the work at cornerback. Because of the injury, I also think T.J. Ward saw most, if not all, of his action at safety, rather than at inside linebacker this week. Gipson had an interception to finish the season with five picks.