The Linebackers Dictate the Effectiveness of a 3-4 Defensive Unit
A good nose tackle may serve as the foundation for all successful 3-4 defenses, but the true difference makers are found at the second level.
It’s the linebackers that truly set the tone in all 3-4 schemes such as the Browns. If a team’s four linebackers are mostly solid and consistent, than chances are that defense is going to be AT LEAST an average unit. On the other hand, if a defense has some playmakers at the second level, then you better look out because that defense has a chance to be dangerous.
With that in mind, all it takes is a quick glance at the Browns linebackers and it’s quite obvious that the defense is striving for respectability this season, not dominance. There’s not a true, impact linebacker in the bunch, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost for this unit and the future of the defense as we enter our sixth season running the 3-4 (since the rebirth!!).
In fact, with the darnedest of luck, the linebacking corps for the Browns MIGHT actually be viewed as one of the strengths of the defense when it’s all said and done.