In this weekly series, I break down the three best and three worst Browns of the week, according to Pro Football Focus. A couple notes before we get to it. First, PFF isn't perfect, these ratings aren't supposed to be the final word. But they do represent the view of impartial observers who watch the game a lot more closely than most of us. For more information on exactly how these ratings are produced, see the PFF website, linked above. Second, ratings don't really compare between positions. A wide receiver with a +2.5 ranking isn't necessarily better than a +2.1 linebacker. So with that in mind, don't assume that the guy with the highest rating necessarily had the best game. These articles are just here to give you a general idea of who played well and who didn't. So let's get to it.
- Karlos Dansby: +4.8 The big free agent acquisition continues to make his presence known in the middle of the Browns defense. A lot of typically good players had bad weeks, but not Dansby. His pass coverage was merely average, but his pass rush and run defense were great. He may be on the older side for the NFL, but the athletic linebacker shows no signs of slowing down. We're glad to have him.
- Joe Thomas: +4.4 I could probably just pencil him in every week for the rest of the year. Thomas is now PFF's top ranked offensive tackle across the entire league. He allowed just one hurry in 45 pass block attempts, but his run blocking actually out-paced that performance this week, earning him a +2.4 grade in that area. Too bad we don't have five of him.
- Christian Kirksey: +2.6 It feels weird to have two inside linebackers rated this highly after giving up so much on the ground last week, but here we are. Like Dansby, it's his run defense that got the rookie on the good half of the list this week. That was counter to what I thought from watching the TV broadcast, where it looked like Kirksey was getting eaten up on runs up the middle. I'm having trouble reconciling these two linebackers' grades with the results on the field against the Jags, but hey, I don't make the news, I just report it.
- Paul Kruger: -4.7 Last year's big acquisition did pretty much nothing right. Getting caught up field or losing contain on run plays was commonplace, and he wasn't exactly putting pressure on Blake Bortles either. Add in a couple penalties, and it isn't hard to see how he got here. Out of 3-4 outside linebackers, Kruger is currently ranked 40th in the NFL by PFF. Ouch.
- Paul McQuiston: -3.7 This grade is low to begin with, but it honestly feels like it should be even lower. Consider this my mea culpa for questioning PFF's rating of McQuiston last week. The 31 year-old guard was not good in any phase of the game, letting pressure get to Brian Hoyer and failing to open lanes for our running backs. Talk about a big downgrade.
- Ben Tate: -3.3 Speaking of those running backs. Tate is getting a chance to carry the load here in Cleveland after a few years as the backup in Houston, and results could be better. Tate seems to completely lack the explosion that made him a sought-after free agent, and I'm left wondering if maybe there is an injury here we aren't being made aware of.
There were only two offensive players in the green this week. That's bad. John Greco struggled with the move to center, and Mitchell Schwartz had his worst game of the season. Not that they were getting much help. Guys like Brian Hoyer, Travis Benjamin, Jim Dray, and Jordan Cameron all had sub-par games. On the plus side, the defense looked good. For the first time this season, Joe Haden, Justin Gilbert, and Buster Skrine all scored well. We'll need that to continue if we hope to win many more games this season. At the end of the day, this is a game that probably leaves the defense feeling hung out to dry and the offense in a hurry to forget it. Hopefully they burn the tape and pretend it never happened.