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

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Looking at the defensive snap counts in the Browns' 23-10 loss to the Dolphins.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns' defense was outstanding against the run, giving up just 20 yards on 23 carries. There was a little bit of frustration about the secondary, but without two of the team's top-hyped two defenders (Ahtyba Rubin and Barkevious Mingo), it was a pretty good effort. The snap count distributions for the Browns' defenders against the Dolphins are listed below. [Week 1 offensive snap counts for Cleveland can be found here]

Defensive Line
Phil Taylor
Desmond Bryant
Billy Winn John Hughes Ishmaa'ily Kitchen
52/68 plays
49/68 plays
37/68 plays
35/68 plays
15/68 plays

Desmond Bryant: 2 tackles, 1 assist (3 combined). 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 4 quarterback hits, 1 pass defended.
John Hughes: 1 tackle, 2 assists (3 combined).
Billy Winn: 2 tackles (2 combined).
Phil Taylor: 0 tackles, 2 assists (2 combined).
Ishmaa'ily Kitchen: 0 tackles, 1 assist (1 combined).

Thoughts: Even without Ahtyba Rubin, this unit did a very good job closing the holes up front in the running late. Getting my first extended look at Desmond Bryant, my thought was that the Browns made an excellent investment in him. Phil Taylor didn't really show up on the stat sheet, but I have to imagine he was doing the dirty work to prevent Miami from running the ball. Billy Winn and John Hughes saw a healthy rotation with Rubin out.

Inside Linebacker
D'Qwell Jackson Craig Robertson Tank Carder
68/68 plays
58/68 plays
10/68 plays

D'Qwell Jackson: 6 tackles, 3 assists (9 combined). 1 quarterback hit, 1 pass defended.
Craig Robertson: 4 tackles, 1 assist (5 combined). 1 tackle for loss.
Tank Carder: No stats registered.

Thoughts: D'Qwell Jackson was the only member of the defense who played every snap. One might be surprised to hear that Tank Carder was in the game for 10 snaps. Jackson's defended pass led to an interception.

Outside Linebacker
Paul Kruger
Jabaal Sheard
Quentin Groves
64/68 plays
57/68 plays
16/68 plays

Paul Kruger: 2 tackles, 2 assist (4 combined). 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback hit.
Jabaal Sheard: 2 assists (2 combined).
Quentin Groves: 1 tackle (1 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hit.

Thoughts: Along with Desmond Bryant, Paul Kruger's performance against Miami showed he's not just a rotational player like he was in Baltimore. Kruger got pressure on Ryan Tannehill and stood out the most among the outside linebackers. It was actually kind of a quiet day for Jabaal Sheard, which was a bit disappointing, since he was going up against Jonathan Martin and had had a great preseason.

Joe Haden Chris Owens
Buster Skrine
67/68 plays
67/68 plays
42/68 plays

Chris Owens: 8 tackles (8 combined).
Buster Skrine: 6 tackles (6 combined). 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass defended.
Joe Haden: 1 tackle (1 combined). 1 pass defended.

Thoughts: Until I looked at the snap counts, I hadn't even realized that Chris Owens got the start. He and Joe Haden each missed one play, probably at the goal line. Haden was not targeted very often during the game, hence why he doesn't really show up on the stat sheet. He did drop an interception, though, on a deep pass. Owens and Buster Skrine each had a stretch during the game in which they struggled. Unfortunately, when the offense is as bad as it was, any stretch of mediocre play from a cornerback is going to get the fans rallying against you.

Tashaun Gipson
T.J. Ward
Josh Aubrey
57/68 plays
50/68 plays
4/68 plays

T.J. Ward: 3 tackles (3 combined). 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass defended.
Tashaun Gipson: 3 tackles (3 combined). 1 interception, 1 pass defended.
Josh Aubrey: No stats registered.

Thoughts: I'm a little confused on the math when it comes to the safeties. I mean, typically, both starting safeties play close to 100% of the snaps. Even when you count Josh Aubrey's snaps in, though it appeared as though there were a lot of plays in which the Browns only had one safety on the field. I'll have to go back and look at a couple of those situations. Tashaun Gipson had an interception off a tipped pass. T.J. Ward left for a brief stretch with an injury, but returned shortly after that.