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Browns’ defensive snap counts, stats, and notes: Week 4

The Browns’ defense allowed over 500 yards of offense.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Below, we analyze the snap counts and stats on defense for the Cleveland Browns’ Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Defensive Line

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
DL Olivier Vernon 65 79% 3 tackles (3 combined). 1 TFL, 1 FR.
DL Myles Garrett 60 73% 2 tackles, 1 assist (3 combined). 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 1 FF.
DL Sheldon Richardson 53 65% 2 tackles, 1 assist (3 combined).
DL Porter Gustin 41 50% No stats registered.
DL Jordan Elliott 31 38% 1 assist (1 combined).
DL Larry Ogunjobi 29 35% 2 assists (2 combined).
DL Vincent Taylor 27 33% 1 tackle (1 combined). 1 FR.
DL Joe Jackson 21 26% 1 tackle (1 combined).
  • Olivier Vernon made his return to action. I thought he would be limited, but he ended up leading the Browns’ defensive linemen in snaps at 79%. According to ESPN, Vernon pressured Dak Prescott 8 times on 44 pass rushes (while Myles Garrett pressured Prescott 5 times on 46 pass rushes). However, according to PFF, Vernon graded much poorer with a grade of 53.6 and only had 2 pressures.
  • Myles Garrett was the Browns’ highest-graded defender, per PFF, with a grade of 84.7. It’s the third straight week that he’s been the Browns’ top-graded defender. PFF says that Garrett had six of the Browns’ nine pressures on the day. When it comes to the eye test, there is no doubt that Garrett had the biggest impact on the game. The two sacks he generated helped cover up the defensive woes that were taken advantage of later in the game.
  • Larry Ogunjobi left the game early with an oblique injury, and that seemed to contribute to the Browns’ defensive line depth issues as the game went along, including being gassed a bit. Sheldon Richardson was briefly banged up, but did return.

Linebacker

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
LB B.J. Goodson 64 78% 5 tackles, 2 assists (7 combined).
LB Malcolm Smith 39 48% 4 tackles (4 combined).
LB Sione Takitaki 29 35% 1 tackle, 3 assists (4 combined).
LB Mack Wilson 27 33% 1 tackle (1 combined).
LB Jacob Phillips 17 21% 2 tackles (2 combined). 1 pass defended.
  • Mack Wilson’s workload increased a little bit this week, up to 33% of the snaps. It still wasn’t enough for me to notice him in particular.
  • Sione Takitaki and Jacob Phillips each had a chance at an interception this week, but couldn’t come away with it.
  • Cleveland is choosing to go with its most veteran players, B.J. Goodson and Malcolm Smith, for the most playing time at linebacker. Four games in, the unit is pretty much who we thought they were. The key for the group has to be to drop into some of these passing lanes and try to force some tips — they’ll pay off eventually.

Cornerback

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
CB Denzel Ward 82 100% 4 tackles (4 combined). 1 INT, 2 passes defended.
CB Terrance Mitchell 82 100% 11 tackles, 1 assist (12 combined).
CB Tavierre Thomas 39 48% 2 tackles, 1 assist (3 combined).
CB M.J. Stewart 30 37% 2 tackles, 1 assist (3 combined). 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QH.
  • To my surprise, Denzel Ward played every snap, so he should be good-to-go moving forward. Ward came away with the interception at the end to officially seal the game.
  • Terrance Mitchell had some good moments early on in the game, but fell victim to some missed tackles later on.
  • The biggest surprise of the game was that Kevin Johnson didn’t receive a single snap on defense. I know that Joe Woods indicated that he had some rust last week, but I didn’t think it would be enough to continue allowing Tavierre Thomas and M.J. Stewart to play over him.
  • Greedy Williams could be close to returning to action; obviously he was still out this week.

Safety

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
S Andrew Sendejo 82 100% 1 tackle, 3 assists (4 combined). 1 FF.
S Karl Joseph 73 89% 4 tackles, 2 assists (6 combined).
S Ronnie Harrison 11 13% 1 pass defended.
  • Ronnie Harrison played 11 snaps and nearly came away with an interception.
  • Andrew Sendejo keeps on going for the big hit, but hasn’t done a whole lot of good for the team. Again, I don’t mean to hate on the guy. In the right role, I think he can be a valuable rotational safety for us, just like he was in Minnesota when he was effective. But the Browns have to get someone else in to that starting role. Sendejo did have one key play, stripping Elliott of the ball after he landed on top of a defender.