Browns Secondary Dominating; Ranked #1 by PFF


The Cleveland Browns secondary was expected to be the prize of the team after this off-season. With Joe Haden signed to a lucrative extension, Donte Whitner brought in, Justin Gilbert drafted high and Tashaun Gipson and Buster Skrine coming back the resources were there. While it took a little while to come together, the Browns secondary is living up to expectations.

While the defense is 9th in passing yards given up, they are ranked #1 by Pro Football Focus, by a ton:

PFF does a great job of not just looking at statistics but how each player performs given their assignments and responsiblities. They do what most of us do not have time to do, grade each play, each player for each game. And in the end, even with a slow start, the Browns are #1 by double the vaunted Seattle Seahawks defense.

The great pass defense has helped the Browns force teams to try to beat them with their run game.

The great Seahawks defense is #1 in passing yards allowed but gets a far lower grade from PFF. Overall Seattle is giving up the 2nd least amount of points per game while the Browns are a very respectable 11th. The Browns lead the league with 19 interceptions, including Gipson still with the most picks, even after missing some games. Buster Skrine is tied for 5th in the league with 4 INTs.

The great pass defense has helped the Browns force teams to try to beat them with their run game. This fits the Browns offensive philosophy of low scoring, low possession games. The Browns are 26th against the run mainly because they have the 5th most rushing attempts against their defense. This slows the game down, keeps the Browns offense in the game and has led to a winning record.

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What team would want to throw against Haden, Gipson, Skrine, Whitner, etc? The Browns have also got great help from undrafted rookie K’Waun Williams and off the street free agent veteran Jim Leonhard. The production is coming from everywhere. This has made up for the slow start for Justin Gilbert. The first round pick seems to be coming on in the last few games but the Browns haven’t needed him early in the season.

Next year the Browns have a decision to make with Skrine. Keeping him would give the Browns an elite group of 4 corners. Expect Williams and Gilbert to progress under Mike Pettine to the point where they both could be good to great #2 corners, playing the nickel and dime back roles if Skrine is re-signed.

The Browns planned to #LockDownTheLake this year. So far so amazing. The Lake is on Lock.

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What do you think of the Browns secondary performance this year? Shocked by the PFF ranking?