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2021 Cleveland Browns Defense: Joe Woods’ Cover-3

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal Jeff Lange via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Early in the 2021 Season, the Cleveland Browns’ defense relied on an old favorite of Joe Woods (and Kevin Stefanski): Cover-3.

This zone defense is predicated on taking away the middle of the field, and forcing opposing teams to complete passes outside the numbers or in the flats. However, it didn’t always work out that way for this Browns team.

In this video I broke down both this coverage, and the style with which we like to play it. We want our players to play fast, instinctively, and aggressively, which sounds great in theory. But when any defense predictably plays a certain way, they are vulnerable.

Early this season we saw Andy Reid and Kansas City flip our defense on it’s head, as they in fact did not have to throw outside the numbers or into the flats to beat us. And to be fair, we are far from the first team that Reid and Mahomes have torn apart. But when the 1-6 Houston Texans and veteran journeyman Tyrod Taylor also cut through our defense like a hot knife through butter, it was clear that we needed to re-think a few things.

One of the ways that Taylor and company did that was to put our defenders in run/pass conflict, as they did in the play I broke down below. Regardless of the coverage or style, defenders can’t be two places at once. Up next, I’ll look at how Joe Woods has adjusted as the season has gone on, and how the Browns’ defense has changed over the past few games.