Stud: Steve Wilks
We already talked about Devaroe Lawrence blowing up Tom Savage to start the game, and this isn’t the first time we have seen this defense start out on fire. A unit that struggled in 2018, Cleveland defense looks to have made a complete 180.
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Steve Wilks deserves a lot of credit for this as it seems as though the new defensive coordinator is putting his players in a position to succeed — and it’s not just the big names like Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon. Everyone is getting involved, like Lawrence and several of his teammates.
On the Browns second possession, Chad Thomas sacked Tom Savage to set up a fourth-and-15. There was a holding on the play as well, but Cleveland declined it and forced Detroit to punt. This was encouraging not only because Thomas looked to be hurt just over a week ago, but also because he struggled last season to make an impact.
After the Browns made their first field goal, Ray-Ray Armstrong even got in on the action as the good play continued. He sacked Savage for a 14-yard loss on a second-and-seven, setting them up for a third-and-21. Detroit was unable to convert as Savage again misfired due to being drilled on the ensuing pass.
The defense continued to dominate in the second half as they had two tackles for a loss on the first drive of the second. One was by defensive lineman Anthony Zettel on first down and another came on third down with undrafted rookie Willie Harvey coming in and making a big tackle.