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

Looking at the defensive snap counts in the Browns' 30-27 loss to the Steelers.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The defense couldn't tackle to save their lives in the first half against Pittsburgh, but they picked up the pace in the second half and even forced a couple of three-and-outs. The snap count distributions for the Browns' defenders against the Steelers are listed below. [Week 1 offensive snap counts for Cleveland can be found here]

Defensive Line
Billy Winn
Armonty Bryant
Ahtyba Rubin
Phil Taylor
Ishmaa'ily Kitchen
47/71 plays
43/71 plays
32/71 plays
31/71 plays
4/71 plays

Billy Winn: 2 tackles (2 combined). 1 tackle for loss.
Armonty Bryant: 1 tackle, 1 assist (2 combined).
Ahtyba Rubin: 1 tackle, 1 assist (2 combined).
Phil Taylor: 1 tackle, 1 assist (2 combined).
Ishmaa'ily Kitchen: No stats registered.

Thoughts: The defensive line as a whole was very quiet, and after an explosive preseason, I guess not hearing Armonty Bryant's name more often was a disappointment. It was surprising to see Billy Winn get the most reps, considering he was listed as a backup on the depth chart. I think we saw how valuable John Hughes is to the run defense, as is Desmond Bryant.

Inside Linebacker
Karlos Dansby
Chris Kirksey
Craig Robertson
71/71 plays
59/71 plays
12/71 plays

Karlos Dansby: 5 tackles, 1 assist (6 combined). 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception, 2 passes defended.
Chris Kirksey: 1 tackle (1 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hit.
Craig Robertson: No stats registered.

Thoughts: We brought Karlos Dansby here to make plays in coverage, and he did just that, defending the only two passes of the game by a Browns defender. In terms of actual reps, the biggest surprise perhaps was the disparity in playing time between Chris Kirksey and Craig Robertson. I guess Kirksey is pretty much the starter.

Outside Linebacker
Barkevious Mingo Paul Kruger
Jabaal Sheard
56/71 plays
44/71 plays
34/71 plays

Barkevious Mingo: 3 tackles, 1 assist (4 combined).
Paul Kruger: 4 tackles, 1 assist (5 combined). 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 2 quarterback hits.
Jabaal Sheard: 3 tackles (3 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hit.

Thoughts: We finally got to see the Paul Kruger we paid for! The Barkevious Mingo played the most, but appeared to have very little impact on the game. Hopefully his run defense doesn't stick out negatively when I re-watch the tape. Jabaal Sheard was a bit more visible, but not as good as he started in 2013.

Joe Haden
Buster Skrine Justin Gilbert
K'Waun Williams
71/71 plays
65/71 plays
59/71 plays
6/71 plays

Joe Haden: 1 tackle (1 combined).
Buster Skrine: 3 tackles, 2 assists (5 combined).
Justin Gilbert: 6 tackles, 1 assist (7 combined).
K'Waun Williams: 2 tackles (2 combined).

Thoughts: Overall, this was not a great day for the cornerbacks. I think it is fair to give Joe Haden somewhat of a pass because of how good Antonio Brown is, and the touchdown involved a pushoff and a long rollout by Big Ben. Buster Skrine had the best performance out of all the cornerbacks. Justin Gilbert is where things got ugly. He couldn't cover or tackle and showed poor instincts. It cost Cleveland the game.

Donte Whitner
Tashaun Gipson Jim Leonhard
71/71 plays
67/71 plays
9/71 plays

Donte Whitner: 12 tackles, 1 assists (13 combined).
Tashaun Gipson: 2 tackles (2 combined).
Jim Leonhard: 1 assist (1 combined).

Thoughts: In his debut with the Browns, Donte Whitner loaded up on a bunch of tackles. Tashaun Gipson only missed a couple of plays due to injury. The most surprising name not on the list was Jordan Poyer, who only played on special teams.