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Browns’ defensive snap counts, stats, and notes: Week 11

Why can’t Olivier Vernon always play like this? Can he face Carson Wentz every week?

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Below, we analyze the snap counts and stats on defense for the Cleveland Browns’ Week 11 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Defensive Line

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
DL Olivier Vernon 55 81% 4 tackles, 1 assist (5 combined). 3 sacks, 3 TFL, 2 QH, 1 pass defended, 1 safety.
DL Sheldon Richardson 50 74% 3 tackles, 1 assist (4 combined). 2 QH.
DL Porter Gustin 46 68% 1 tackle, 2 assists (3 combined). 1 QH.
DL Larry Ogunjobi 44 65% 3 assists (3 combined). 0.5 sack, 1 QH.
DL Adrian Clayborn 39 57% 2 tackles, 1 assist (3 combined). 1.5 sacks, 2 QH, 1 FF.
DL Jordan Elliott 17 25% 1 tackle (1 combined).
DL Vincent Taylor 11 16% 1 tackle (1 combined).
DL Cameron Malveaux 8 12% 2 tackles (2 combined). 1 FF.
  • This was by far the best game of Olivier Vernon’s tenure with the Browns, and possibly of his career. I find it pretty incredible that Vernon has 0 sacks when Myles Garrett is on the field, but now has 5 sacks in the <2 games in which he’s been out. I mean, seriously, what the heck? Why can’t Vernon play like such a beast when Garrett is out there as well? Although, to be fair, I can’t remember a quarterback who Cleveland has faced who holds the ball as long as Carson Wentz does.
  • Vernon graded out to an 86.9 by PFF, which was stunningly only the Browns’ 3rd best defensive grade of the game. Adrian Clayborn also stepped up, logging 1.5 sacks and a strip (which Philadelphia recovered). Clayborn was the Browns’ 5th-graded defender with a grade of 75.0.
  • Who was Cleveland’s second-highest graded defended? (Drumroll) — rookie DT Jordan Elliott! (90.2). This from PFF:

Jordan Elliott was a difference-maker along the Browns’ defensive line. On only eight snaps against the run, Elliott had three tackles and a forced fumble.

Linebacker

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
LB B.J. Goodson 64 94% 4 tackles (4 combined). 1 TFL.
LB Malcolm Smith 36 53% 4 tackles (4 combined).
LB Mack Wilson 32 47% 3 tackles, 1 assist (4 combined).
LB Sione Takitaki 21 31% 2 tackles (2 combined). 1 TFL, 1 interception, 1 pass defended, 1 TD.
LB Jacob Phillips 3 4% No stats registered.
  • Who would’ve thought that naming Sione Takitaki a game captain would be the underrated MVP coaching decision of the season? Although Takitaki played just 21 snaps, he was Cleveland’s highest-graded defender (90.4), including his pick six in the first half.
  • Malcolm Smith was one of the Browns’ lowest-graded defenders (41.1). B.J. Goodson had a fair grade at 73.3; he’s been consistent enough now to where I guess I should give him some credit for being a decent linebacker.
  • Mack Wilson seems to be introducing a new “edge” to his game lately. I like it, I guess, as long as he doesn’t get flagged.
  • Rookie Jacob Phillips returned to action, playing 3 snaps.

Cornerback

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
CB Denzel Ward 68 100% 3 tackles (3 combined). 1 QH, 1 interception, 4 passes defended.
CB Terrance Mitchell 68 100% 4 tackles (4 combined). 2 passes defended.
CB Kevin Johnson 47 69% 2 tackles (2 combined).
  • Denzel Ward had 4 passes defended in what PFF called one of the best games of his career. Despite that, it was only good enough to warrant a grade of 80.2 from PFF, good for fourth on the team. That might have been related to components of his game besides pass coverage.

He allowed only four catches on 10 targets for 27 yards — one of which went for a first down. Ward also picked off a pass and forced incompletions on two others.

Safety

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
S Andrew Sendejo 68 100% 5 tackles, 1 assist (6 combined).
S Sheldrick Redwine 47 69% 1 tackle (1 combined).
S Karl Joseph 18 26% 2 tackles (2 combined).
S Ronnie Harrison 6 9% 1 assist (1 combined).
  • Ronnie Harrison injured his knee early on and only was able to play 6 snaps.
  • Sheldrick Redwine ended up seeing most of the snaps in Harrison’s place, not Karl Joseph. That sounds good on the surface, but Redwine earned an abysmal 28.2 grade from PFF.
  • Andrew Sendejo had an unnecessary roughness penalty for taking a shot at a receiver in the back, which negated one of Cleveland’s sacks.