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Browns vs. Steelers: Best and Worst

In this new weekly article we take a look at which Browns had the best and worst performance last Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus.

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

In this new weekly series, I'm going to 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.

The Best

  1. Joe Thomas: +3.9 Ho-hum. This is what Joe Thomas does. His rating is boosted by his +2.2 pass block rating, one of the best in the league. His screen blocking and run blocking lagged behind a bit, but were still above average.
  2. John Greco: +2.5 Greco has been up and down in the past, but this week was definitely up. Greco's pass blocking was merely average, but his run blocking shined, coming in at +2.3 in his first week as a zone blocking guard.
  3. Jim Dray: +2.2 The backup tight end wasn't really a factor in the passing game, but he put up a very strong performance as a run blocker. In 28 snaps as a blocker, he piled up a +2.1 rating.

The Worst

  1. Joe Haden: -4.6 Ouch. This is not what we expect out of Haden. Neither his pass defense or run defense were up to snuff, and the Browns suffered for it. Thankfully, I don't think this is something we should continue to see the rest of the season.
  2. Justin Gilbert: -4.4 Our two starting corners were our two worst players. Gilbert's rating doesn't come out as bad as Haden's, but he played fewer snaps. Unlike Haden, Gilbert doesn't have a history of excellence to fall back on, but he is a rookie, so there's hope for improvement.
  3. Ahtyba Rubin: -2.1 Rubin has never been a pass rusher, he made his money as a run defender who can take up space in the middle. Last week his run defense was pretty bad, and so he finds himself here. Most of our run defenders looked bad on Sunday, so hopefully this game is a one-off for Rubin.

Wrap Up

Typically I'll use this space to point out the best and worst players on the whole season, but as this is week one, that would be a little redundant. Instead, I'll just point out that it's hardly surprising that all three of our best players came from the offense while the three worst came from the defense. I think that pretty accurately mirrors the game on Sunday. Neither unit played well in the first half, but we expected that from the offense. The defense did not live up to expectations, and failed to get a stop with the game on the line. That's it for game one, be sure to check in next week to see who brings their best and worst against the Saints.