Browns: 5 defensive takeaways from Week 2 loss

(Photo by Rob Carr /Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr /Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
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Defensive backs continue to build chemistry

The defensive backs were perhaps the largest area of concern entering the 2017 NFL season for the Cleveland Browns. Surprisingly so, they’ve performed the best among the defensive groups after two impressive games against division rivals.

Veteran Jason McCourty, who many concluded was washed up, had the defense’s two turnovers with an interception and a forced fumble. The Ravens’ wide receivers had a difficult time getting open for the greater part of Sunday’s game. That’s credited to Jamar Taylor and Briean Boddy-Calhoun‘s abilities to stick in coverage.

Taylor was rated an 86.5 grade by PFF while McCourty scored a 87.8 – a team high for Cleveland.  McCourty has proved his worth so far this season despite being a questionable addition to the Browns earlier in the offseason.

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The Ravens threw at the veteran safety five times but McCourty didn’t allow even one reception all game. His forced fumble came at a critical time in the game and with the Browns’ offensive inconsistencies, they will need as many turnovers as they can get.

The Browns let go of veteran Joe Haden weeks ago and the defense doesn’t seem to be missing him all that much. The cornerbacks have looked sharp and Haden got beat up pretty good by the Browns in Week 1 and was average against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2.

There was no doubt his locker room presence would be missed, though the fact Cleveland’s defensive backs have exceeded expectations two weeks into 2017 is a sign the front office may have made the right choice in letting Haden go.

It’s always encouraging to see a younger defensive unit such as the defensive backs take advantage of playing time, and it appears it will only continue.