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

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Looking at the defensive snap counts in the Browns' 29-28 victory over the Titans.

Frederick Breedon

The Browns' defense pitched a shutout in the second half, and although they were up against a backup quarterback, they deserve kudos for that. On the same token, they deserve to be blasted for how awful they played on the road in a first half again. The snap count distributions for the Browns' defenders against the Titans are listed below. [Week 5 offensive snap counts for Cleveland can be found here]


Defensive Line
Desmond Bryant Armonty Bryant Ahtyba Rubin Billy Winn
Phil Taylor
71%
48/68 plays
69%
47/68 plays
54%
37/68 plays
41%
28/68 plays
13%
9/68 plays

Desmond Bryant: 1 assist (1 combined). 1 pass defended.
Armonty Bryant: 3 tackles, 3 assists (6 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hit.
Ahtyba Rubin: 2 tackles, 1 assist (3 combined).
Billy Winn:
3 tackles, 1 assist (4 combined).
Phil Taylor:
1 tackle (1 combined). 1 tackle for loss.

Thoughts: The Browns chose not to activate John Hughes and Ishmaa'ily Kitchen -- both were healthy scratches. When Phil Taylor went down fairly early in the game with a knee injury, the Browns were down to just four defensive linemen, which is likely the reason you see the big bump in playing time for Armonty Bryant. Bryant has been quiet this season after a strong preseason, but he showed up late against the Titans and also had a nice hustle play on a third down to take down a receiver.


Inside Linebacker
Karlos Dansby
Chris Kirksey Craig Robertson
100%
68/68 plays
63%
43/68 plays
32%
22/68 plays

Karlos Dansby: 4 tackles, 4 assists (8 combined). 1 tackle for loss.
Chris Kirksey: 3 tackles, 3 assists (6 combined).
Craig Robertson: 2 assists (2 combined).

Thoughts: This didn't appear to be Chris Kirksey's finest game, and after his hit in the end zone on QB Jake Locker, he was a marked man, drawing a 15-yard penalty on a late push by Titans OG Andy Levitre. The Browns kept their composure while the Titans didn't, and that added up to hurt them.


Outside Linebacker
Jabaal Sheard Paul Kruger Barkevious Mingo Eric Martin
75%
51/68 plays
72%
49/68 plays
31%
21/68 plays
3%
2/68 plays

Jabaal Sheard: 2 tackles, 1 assist (3 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hit, 1 pass defended.
Paul Kruger:
2 tackles (2 combined). 1 quarterback hit.
Barkevious Mingo: 1 tackle, 2 assists (3 combined).

Thoughts: I'm going to talk about the run defense for a second, but this applies to all of the units, not just the outside linebackers. At the end of the day, Cleveland definitely needs to stop the run better, as they yielded 149 rushing yards and 5.0 yards per carry. However, I actually do feel the Browns made improvements in their base run defense.

They held all three Titans running backs to under 3.4 yards per carry. Combined, Shonn Greene, Bishop Sankey, and Dexter McCluster had 22 carries for 73 yards. That's why the Titans weren't running it late in the game. The issues in our run defense came on plays like the jet sweep to WR Kendall Wright for 38 yards, and then QB Jake Locker scrambling 4 times for 34 yards.


Cornerback
Joe Haden Buster Skrine K'Waun Williams Justin Gilbert
100%
68/68 plays
100%
68/68 plays
53%
36/68 plays
13%
9/68 plays

Joe Haden: 2 tackles, 2 assists (4 combined).
Buster Skrine:
3 tackles, 1 assist (4 combined).
K'Waun Williams: 6 tackles (6 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hit, 1 pass defended.
Justin Gilbert: No stats registered.

Thoughts: Ding! Ding! Ding! We have our first big depth chart change defensively of the season, and it is undrafted free agent K'Waun Williams taking over the nickel role and leaving No. 8 overall pick Justin Gilbert as the fourth cornerback. Williams came up with some big plays late in the game, pushing Delanie Walker out of bounds to force a 4th-and-1 (which set up the failed QB sneak), sacking QB Charlie Whitehurst on the final drive, and then having good enough coverage on the final play of the game to tackle the receiver in bounds. PFF graded Williams well, as did DBN's Mike Krupka:


Safety
Donte Whitner
Tashaun Gipson Jim Leonhard
100%
68/68 plays
100%
68/68 plays
9%
6/68 plays

Donte Whitner: 2 tackles, 2 assists (4 combined).
Tashaun Gipson: 3 tackles, 1 assist (4 combined). 1 pass defended.
Jim Leonhard: No stats registered.

Thoughts: Without seeing the All-22, it's hard to say how well our safeties played in this game. Through four games, though, I'm still waiting for Donte Whitner to be an impact safety rather than just being a guy out on the field. The swap for T.J. Ward hasn't paid dividends yet. Whitner doesn't seem like a liability, though, so hopefully once the rest of the defense gets their act together, Whitner will have more shining moments.