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Browns’ defensive snap counts, stats, and notes: Week 1

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Myles Garrett is lucky to not be ejected, but still gets two sacks in the season opener.

Tennessee Titans v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Below, we analyze the snap counts and stats on defense for the Cleveland Browns’ Week 1 game against the Tennessee Titans.

Defensive Line

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
DL Oliver Vernon 56 92% No stats registered.
DL Myles Garrett 55 90% 4 tackles, 1 assist (5 combined). 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH.
DL Sheldon Richardson 51 84% 4 tackles (4 combined). 1 pass defended.
DL Larry Ogunjobi 50 82% 3 tackles (3 combined). 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH.
DL Devaroe Lawrence 11 18% No stats registered.
DL Daniel Ekuale 9 15% No stats registered.
DL Chris Smith 9 15% No stats registered.
DL Chad Thomas 5 8% No stats registered.
  • I am still baffled and annoyed at DE Myles Garrett for throwing an open-hand punch at TE Delanie Walker. It was a 6-3 game at that point, and the Browns had stopped RB Dion Lewis on the play for no gain, which would have set up a 3rd-and-4. What if Cleveland stops them and forces a punt, to get the ball at midfield? Granted, there were three other penalties later on that also extended the drive (which led to a touchdown), but sometimes it’s one thing that sets the tone and spreads. If Garrett had closed his hand to a fist, he would’ve been ejected. Keep your cool and be an example — that wasn’t it.
  • Garrett finished the game with two sacks; the first one was earned, but the second one was a matter of circumstance (i.e. end of game, and QB Marcus Mariota just slid to protect himself).
  • I feel like the Browns’ defensive line was all pumped up, envisioning how much destruction they were going to do to a Titans offensive line missing two starters. I expected Tennessee to come out and offer a lot of tight end help in chipping our ends, and they did that — and more. So much that it seemed like our defense was frustrated that they weren’t racking up sack after sack. It wasn’t a good look — and by the end of the game, the morale was lost and the Titans imposed their will.
  • Despite playing 92% of the snaps, DE Oliver Vernon did not make the stat sheet. DT Sheldon Richardson had two penalties. DL Devaroe Lawrence only played 11 snaps, and was flagged for allegedly telling an official “fuck you.” DE Genard Avery was inactive.

Linebacker

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
LB Joe Schobert 61 100% 7 tackles, 2 assists (9 combined).
LB Christian Kirksey 61 100% 5 tackles, 1 assist (6 combined). 2 TFL.
LB Adarius Taylor 3 5% No stats registered.
  • The Browns made true to their 4-2-5 defense, because Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert played every snap, but no other linebackers really played. Adarius Taylor played 3 snaps total. I was a little surprised that rookie Mack Wilson didn’t earn any defensive playing time in some type of rotation.

Cornerback

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
CB Denzel Ward 60 98% 1 QH.
CB Greedy Williams 40 66% 2 tackles (2 combined).
CB Terrance Mitchell 18 30% 1 tackle (1 combined). 1 pass defended.
CB T.J. Carrie 15 25% 1 tackle (1 combined).
  • It was a bit of a letdown watching Denzel Ward’s first game of the season, as he allowed a 47-yard pass to rookie A.J. Brown right off the bat and was also flagged twice for defensive holding in the game.
  • I’m not too sure what Cleveland did with the other cornerback position. Leading up to the game, it was strongly worded by Steve Wilks that Terrance Mitchell would start, and that he typically doesn’t rotate cornerbacks. And yet, before the game, Greedy Williams was announced as the starter. Williams played 66% of the snaps, but Mitchell still got in for 30% of the snaps. The Titans don’t run a lot of three-receiver looks, so T.J. Carrie only played 25% of the snaps.

Safety

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
S Morgan Burnett 61 100% 5 tackles, 1 assist (6 combined). 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QH.
S Damarious Randall 60 98% 4 tackles (4 combined). 1 pass defended.
S Jermaine Whitehead 35 57% 1 assist (1 combined). 1 QH.
S Eric Murray 11 18% No stats registered.
  • I just can’t shake it — I see that Morgan Burnett played 100% of the snaps and that Jermaine Whitehead played 57% of the snaps, but I’m like, “are these guys really starters on our team?” Burnett had the team’s first sack of the season and also had a tackle for a loss, coming down from the strong safety spot. Whitehead committed a roughing the passer penalty on the first defensive play — lovely.
  • Damarious Randall was flagged for defensive holding (same drive as Garrett’s punch), although I thought that one was a pretty good defensive play.
  • Eric Murray also played 18% of the snaps.