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.
- John Greco: +2.3 Here we have the first repeat appearance. In week one, Greco put up impressive numbers in the run game. Against New Orleans, he was merely average against the run, but stonewalled the Saints' interior pass rush, putting up a +1.8 pass block rating.
- Tashaun Gipson: +2.1 Our first defender to make the list, Gipson had himself quite the game last Sunday and has gotten off to a good start on the season. While he might not have the athletic ability of the NFL's elite free safeties, Gipson has a knack for reading the play and being in the right spot. His pick-six helped boost his pass defense rating to +2.2, leading the team in that regard.
- Andrew Hawkins / Justin Gilbert: +2.0 (Tie) These are both great to see, particularly Gilbert, who appeared in the bottom three last week. Both guys excelled in their primary responsibility. Gilbert had a pass coverage rating of +1.8 while Hawkins put up a +1.9 in pass receiving.
- Phil Taylor: -3.0 Taylor needs to be better than this, plain and simple. He was bad against the run last Sunday, and that's what sank his rating here. Looking back at his career, he's been a good run defender on the whole, but is prone to having a clunker now and then.
- Ahtyba Rubin: -2.9 Rubin shows up here for the second week in a row. Rubin has never been a good pass rusher, and so far this season he's been just as bad against the run. Many Browns fans feel Rubin has been a little overrated and a little overpaid, and so far he isn't doing much to convince those people otherwise.
- Chris Kirksey: -2.7 Rounding out our trio of defenders is the rookie, Kirksey. I'm not too worried about him, as I think his poor pass coverage rating is likely due to who he was asked to cover. Nobody is going to come away from Jimmy Graham smelling like roses. Kirksey has flashed the ability to defend the pass at the NFL level, so I think we can write this off as a bad match-up and move on.
So far on the season the offense has been outperforming the defense, according to PFF. We haven't had a single offensive player in the bottom three yet. That might be the reverse of what we expected, but it isn't exactly unwelcome. Given the match-up this weekend, I'm thinking some of our run defenders will rebound and we might see a more even distribution in this article next week.
Season best: John Greco +4.8
Season worst: Joe Haden -5.7