The Cleveland Browns defense has fallen apart in 2022 after a great second half in the 2021 season. Folks continue to try to understand where the blame should fall but, in the end, the defense is bad for a variety of reasons.
Firing DC Joe Woods doesn’t seem to be in the cards which means changes to strategy and personnel are the primary options for the team.
Most interesting is that there are not a lot of changes from last year’s defense from a personnel perspective. Anthony Walker Jr. being lost for the season with an injury is the biggest change while players like M.J. Stewart were rotational pieces but not key ingredients.
Perhaps the biggest loss came when DE Takk McKinley went down with an Achilles tear near the end of the year. Surprisingly, McKinley was signed by the Los Angeles Rams a couple of weeks into the season and played in Week 3 of 2022.
Unfortunately for McKinley and the Rams, he wasn’t able to make an impact in his limited snaps this season and was released Tuesday:
Rams placed DB Grant Haley and OT Joe Noteboom on injured reserve, released DE Takk McKinley, and signed veteran free-agent OT Ty Nsekhe.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 18, 2022
A return to Cleveland should not be overlooked. The man brought in to replace McKinley, Chase Winovich, has yet to make an impact and has been on IR since Week 2.
Bringing back McKinley, likely starting on the practice squad as he did with the Rams, would give Woods a player he knows and someone who was helpful last year. In just 11 games, McKinley created pressure in a reserve role with eight quarterback hits, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
While it wouldn’t be a game changer, bringing back a familiar face from last year’s solid defense could be a small part in righting the ship sooner rather than later.
Should the Browns have interest in a McKinley return?