The Cleveland Browns defensive line has always been seen as the strength of the defense, and the performances of Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi have been vital to success.
There is a case to be made that the Cleveland Browns have been one of the best defenses in the NFL this season, even though they have given up chunks of yardage.
The reason why they have played so well is because of their ability to create turnovers and get to the quarterback.
The pressure the Browns have created has helped the unit create turnovers. The defensive line has also done a great job of creating turnovers themselves, as the group has forced three fumbles this season.
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Garrett was dominant in the regular season opener against the Steelers, making six tackles, two sacks, and two forced fumbles. He has not put up a performance like that, compiling four total tackles and two sacks in the other two games.
A key reason for that is offenses are keying their blocking schemes on Garrett. They are willing to let someone else on the defensive line beat them, as long as Garrett is being blocked.
But that plan has not worked well, as two players have emerged as strong pass rushers in place if Garrett. With so much focus on Garrett, Genard Avery and Ogunjobi have made life miserable for quarterbacks.
Ogunjobi has been a force up the middle, constantly creating pressure up the middle. Ogunjobi’s breakout game was during the Week 2 game against the Saints, making six tackles and two sacks. Both of Ogunjobi’s sacks came on key third downs.
For the season, Ogunjobi has made 18 total tackles and three sacks. He has not been as good against the run as he has been rushing the passer. Despite that, the interior pressure that he creates has created plenty of opportunities for the rest of the defensive unit to force a turnover.
On the other hand, Avery has played exceptionally well for a rookie. On the season, Avery has made six total tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. The stat line may not show it, but Avery’s presence in the backfield has created a lot of trouble for quarterbacks. However, Ogunjobi’s consistent pressure has made him the perfect one-two combo with Garrett.
Even if Garrett is not sacking the quarterback or forcing fumbles, his impact has allowed other Browns defenders get to the quarterback. And the player that has paid off the most has been Ogunjobi.