Donte Whitner: Consistency still plaguing Cleveland Browns defense
By Thomas Moore
Oct 4, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) is tackled by Cleveland Browns cornerback Jordan Poyer (33) as strong safety Donte Whitner (31) and inside linebacker Chris Kirksey (58) assist during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Browns defense has been a sore spot all season, and safety Donte Whitner believes he knows why.
The Cleveland Browns defense has been problematic, to say the least, all season long.
The defense sits at or near the bottom of the NFL rankings in just about every imaginable statistical category and, at 28.9 points per game, is on pace to give up more points than the expansion Browns did in 1999.
Making matters worse is that the Browns committed $82 million of their payroll to the defensive side of the ball this season, making it the highest-paid defensive unit in the league.
Several theories have been presented as to why the Browns continue to struggle on defense – from a lack of talent on the field to a lack of talent on the sidelines – but veteran safety Donte Whitner believes it all comes down to one thing.
“I would probably say we just have some guys that don’t do what they are supposed to do as consistent as they are supposed to do it,” Whitner said on Friday. “Even sometimes you can tell some guys this play is coming, somehow they still see some other type of play out there. Sometimes guys do what they are supposed to do, sometimes they don’t. When you tend to not do what you are supposed to do, that is when you tend to get beat, that is when you tend to give up big plays and that is when you tend to lose football games, and that is why we are 2-10.”
While mistakes are part of the game, even if it does seem at times as if they are unique to the Browns – Whitner stressed that it is getting to the point of the season where you to have wonder why some players continue to make the same ones on a regular basis.
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“Everybody makes mistakes but how consistently do you make mistakes or do you continue to make the same mistakes,” he said. “If you continue to make the same mistakes there are three reasons: you either don’t know, don’t care or you don’t want to play football. We have to figure that out.
“These four games right here is where we figure it out. You figure out who are the front runners and who really cares and who really loves the game of football and who really wants to play the game of football.”
Even though the Browns are 2-10 and with nothing to play for other than draft position, Whitner said the team needs to put an emphasis on the final four games of the season.
“It has been a tough season (and) we are learning how to handle this adversity,” Whitner said of a team that really doesn’t know anything but adversity. “We are going to see who is really with us, who are not front runners, who is going to finish the season and give great effort as if we are fighting for a playoff spot. That is what you look for in these games. These last four games are very important to us.”