Cleveland Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah’s second season did not necessarily go as planned, given that he is closing out the year on the injured reserve list.
His play also dropped off from his rookie season, at least in the eyes of Pro Football Focus, as he dropped from the analytics site’s No. 9 ranked linebacker as a rookie down to No. 40 this year as he was not particularly strong in any category.
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Even so, linebackers coach Jason Tarver liked the progress that JOK showed during the season and on Friday laid out the offseason plan to help Owusu-Koramoah to take his game to the next level* (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“Jeremiah’s most technical game, where he was in the right spot at the right pace, which was one of the things we worked with because he is so explosive – if you don’t know, don’t go anywhere – was the last game. That is something to build on. With Jeremiah both years, he ended up playing about the same number of snaps and for him, he has had little nicks or bigger nicks injury-wise. In the offseason this year, it is going to be building his body to handle the 17 weeks. I do like where he went by football progression and what he did the last week. Now, it is going to be a process of really mastering the offseason.
“He is so explosive and he is so instinctive that he takes in all of the information, and he feels everything. He will say, ‘Hey coach, the quarterback moved his left pinky.’ I am like, ‘That is nice. The ball wasn’t snapped.’ He feels it all. That is what great natural athletes have so it is that. That play timing, he really felt it in the last game, and that is something he can remember and build on.”
The Browns have dealt with injuries to their linebackers all season. In addition to Owusu-Koramoah, they lost Anthony Walker Jr., Sione Takitaki and Jacob Phillips to season-ending injuries. Those losses have helped contribute to the defense’s struggles, particularly when it comes to stopping the run.
Owusu-Koramoah’s loss may have been the most impactful, as he is by far the most athletic of the group. Hence, the Browns need him to come back next season with an improved game and a body that can hold up for an entire season after playing only 25 out of a possible 36 games in his career.
*Hopefully, Carver gives JOK the plan before he leaves town, as it is in no way a lock that Tarver and the rest of the defensive coaching staff will be around very long once the season ends.