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

Looking at the defensive snap counts in the Browns' 26-24 victory over the Saints.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns' defense started fast against QB Drew Brees, limiting him to just 9 yards passing in the first quarter. They also notched a pick six of him in the first half, which was enough to compensate for when TE Jimmy Graham was unstoppable in the second half. The snap count distributions for the Browns' defenders against the Saints are listed below. [Week 2 offensive snap counts for Cleveland can be found here]

Defensive Line
Ahtyba Rubin
Desmond Bryant
Billy Winn Phil Taylor
Armonty Bryant
38/70 plays
38/70 plays
31/70 plays
30/70 plays
23/70 plays

Ahtyba Rubin: 2 tackles, 2 assists (4 combined).
Desmond Bryant: 1 tackle, 1 assist (2 combined).
Billy Winn: No stats registered.
Phil Taylor: 1 assist (1 combined).
Armonty Bryant: 1 assist (1 combined). 1 quarterback hit.

Thoughts: The Browns mixed things up on the defensive line this week with the return of DE Desmond Bryant to the starting lineup. Last week, Winn had 66% of the snaps while A. Bryant had 61% of the snaps. This week, both of them played less than half the game, yielding to Ahtyba Rubin and D. Bryant instead. Phil Taylor's usage pretty much remained exactly the same.

Inside Linebacker
Karlos Dansby
Chris Kirksey
Craig Robertson
70/70 plays
40/70 plays
22/70 plays

Karlos Dansby: 8 tackles, 4 assists (12 combined). 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback hit.
Chris Kirksey: 1 tackle, 3 assists (4 combined).
Craig Robertson: 1 tackle (1 combined). 1 quarterback hit.

Thoughts: Without reviewing the individual plays, it looks like rufio was right -- the percentages indicate that Craig Robertson is being utilized in the Browns' base defense, which is why his percentage is the inverse of Justin Gilbert's snap count. Karlos Dansby had some more clutch plays, and he's already shown why the Browns went with him as an upgrade over D'Qwell Jackson -- high-impact plays.

Outside Linebacker
Paul Kruger Jabaal Sheard Eric Martin
67/70 plays
65/70 plays
2/70 plays

Paul Kruger: 1 tackle, 2 assists (3 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 3 quarterback hits, 1 pass defended.
Jabaal Sheard: 3 tackles, 3 assists (6 combined). 1 pass defended.
Eric Martin: No stats registered.

Thoughts: This if the Paul Kruger we've been waiting for. He's put together two back-to-back weeks of solid performances. By "solid," I don't mean to imply that he's dominating every snap of the game. I want my money maker guys to contribute toward a couple of potentially game-changing plays, and Kruger played a role in the team's pick six and had a sack. Kruger and Jabaal Sheard played most of the game with Barkevious Mingo nursing a shoulder injury.

Buster Skrine Joe Haden Justin Gilbert
K'Waun Williams
70/70 plays
69/70 plays
47/70 plays
10/70 plays

Buster Skrine: 3 tackles, 1 assist (4 combined).
Joe Haden: 6 tackles, 4 assists (10 combined). 1 pass defended.
Justin Gilbert: 5 tackles, 2 assists (7 combined). 1 pass defended.
K'Waun Williams: No stats registered.

Thoughts: The reason that Joe Haden is at 99% is because he missed a snap (due to a cramp), but came right back in. Justin Gilbert rebounded for a very respectable second game, which is a positive sign. I'm not sure who was on Marques Colston, but he wasn't even targeted once, and his streak of 86 straight games with a catch ended.

Donte Whitner
Tashaun Gipson Jim Leonhard
70/70 plays
70/70 plays
9/70 plays

Donte Whitner: 3 tackles, 2 assists (5 combined).
Tashaun Gipson: 3 tackles, 5 assists (8 combined). 1 interception, 1 pass defended, 1 touchdown.
Jim Leonhard: 1 assist (1 combined).

Thoughts: Even with his five interceptions last year, I didn't buy in to Tashaun Gipson. This year, I'm starting to. He's playing the center field role well for the second straight year, and I like some of the other things I'm seeing out of him. I don't know if Donte Whitner is making the "wow" plays on the field yet, but I have no doubt that he's a positive voice in that locker room.