The Cleveland Browns seem to be experimenting with their defense, and it could result in Jermaine Whitehead playing in a bigger role.
The Cleveland Browns defense has shown plenty of potential with their young talent in all three levels. However, entering the 2019 season, there are some questions as to how the defensive personnel will shake out.
One of the expectations for the Browns defense is they will be playing with five defensive backs on the field often and leaving only two linebackers on the field. This would result in a defensive back playing closer to the line of scrimmage, which has become the norm in the modern NFL.
This offseason, the Browns signed safety Morgan Burnett, who the Browns front office are familiar with because of their days with the Green Bay Packers. Burnett has frequently played closer to the line of scrimmage in the “nitro linebacker” role.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
If Burnett fills the role as the nitro linebacker, there is a chance another former Green Bay Packer sees significant playing time. Jermaine Whitehead may not have the name power of Burnett, but the Browns front office reportedly likes what Whitehead could bring to the Cleveland defense.
The Browns claimed Whitehead off waivers in November and played seven games to end the season for Cleveland. Terry Pluto of cleveland.com mentioned Sunday that the Browns are “intrigued” with Whitehead as the starting strong safety.
"“Veteran Morgan Burnett, cut by the Steelers in April after requesting his release, is the obvious choice to start at strong safety. But the Browns have been intrigued by Jermaine Whitehead in that role. Another former Packer (2017), Whitehead played 24 games in that last two years. I keep hearing, “Don’t ignore this guy.”” – Pluto, Cleveland.com"
Whitehead has played in 26 games since entering the NFL in 2015. He has started in only two games, both occurring last season for the Packers. The 26-year-old has made 29 career tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, and three passes defensed.
Although he has not played an extensive amount of snaps during his career, it is obvious the Browns organization feels he has the talent to potentially help transform the defense. Both Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith are familiar with Whitehead, so they know what they have in the young safety.
It is still early and the Browns are obviously going to experiment with different personnel packages on defense. But with questions at the safety position, Whitehead will have an opportunity to earn first-team reps.