Finally, a small piece of positive news for the Browns this offseason.
During its "Significant Stat" week, Pro Football Focus ranked the Browns defense as the best in the NFL at tackling efficiency.
What exactly does that mean? Essentially, it means that Cleveland's defense missed the fewest tackles per snap in the NFL this season. Out of 1,188 snaps, the Browns missed 102 tackles, or 0.086 missed tackles per snap. The 49ers finished close behind in second at 0.888.
PFF explained the Browns' spot at the top:
The Browns top the list partially thanks to their defensive line. Desmond Bryant played over 700 snaps with just one missed tackle, while nine other players on defense played at least 100 snaps and missed 10 or fewer.
Looking purely at missed tackles, the Browns whiffed on the third-fewest tackles in the league. This is an impressive stat, considering Cleveland's defense was on the field for the second-most snaps in the NFL.
Glancing at a more common stat, points allowed per game, the Browns ranked ninth at 21.1. Despite the defense's woes against opposing running backs, the Browns defense thrived as a whole this season under new defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil. After all, Joe Haden, Donte Whitner, and Tashaun Gipson all received Pro Bowl honors.
On a side note, PFF also recorded missed tackles on special teams. The Browns ranked 10th with 15 total missed tackles. The Vikings were the only other team to rank in the top 10 in both categories in 2014.
Different people might make different conclusions about these stats. If you're Charles Barkley, you might be inclined with a response such as "I've always believed analytics was crap."
It's undeniable, however, that the Browns defense is improved, and a reason for optimism heading into the 2015 season.