The story of the 2022 Cleveland Browns was a lot about QBs Deshaun Watson and Jacoby Brissett but defensive coordinator Joe Woods’ failures lost the team a few key games. The Browns offseason may get the most attention for the moves for players on the field but the hiring of DC Jim Schwartz could have the biggest difference.
(In then end, talent and coaching upgrades will combine to help the team.)
One national site believes the hiring of Schwartz could be worth up to four wins for Cleveland.
We’ve already heard from CB Denzel Ward about the new defense helping eliminate miscommunication. CB Greg Newsome II talked about his role in the new system with excitement.
ESPN’s Mina Kimes shared previously how much better the Browns defense was in 2022 when they played man coverage. Now, we get this interesting graphic showing how each of the team’s top three cornerbacks, Ward, Newsome and Martin Emerson, played in man versus zone:
2022 CB Separation allowed in Man vs Zone:— Jrfortgang (@throwthedamball) June 27, 2023
Some initial takeaways:
1) Sauce vs Stingley contrast is wild
2) Chiefs young corners in man
3) Patrick Peterson still has it? pic.twitter.com/ljseUHxrHb
This larger version of the graph will help you see the details. Start by focusing first on the two dotted red lines. Anything above or to the right of that red line is above average:
First, we see that all three of Cleveland’s corners fall below the average line for zone coverage. Receivers in their areas had much more separation than the average corner in the NFL. Second, we see that all three are at or above average in man coverage. Finally, we see that Ward is one of the top corners when he is able to lock up a receiver one on one.
Having covered all three players as they came out in the NFL draft, it was clear that they all were more comfortable, confident and better while playing man coverage. Somehow, Woods didn’t get the memo but it seems we can expect Schwartz to play his corners in ways that fit their skills the best.