1. Olivier Vernon needs to stay healthy
With Myles Garrett locked up for almost the next decade, we know the Browns are fully committed to him as their number one pass-rusher. Currently, their number two is Olivier Vernon. Vernon has been a great edge defender during his career so far. Even though he didn’t put up high sack numbers in 2019, he was still a great force for the Browns defense. When comparing him to the coveted Yannick Ngakoue, who many think the Browns could trade for, he holds up pretty well.
The Browns have no need to replace Olivier Vernon for 2020. He is a valuable weapon to the team when he’s on the field. The only problem is that he is consistently injured from season to season. Only playing in 10 games last season, Vernon hasn’t played in a full season since 2016. The odds of him playing a full season this year seem pretty low, considering that there is likely to be an increase in injuries in 2020.
If Vernon can manage to play the whole season or even in all of the last eight games and the playoffs, the Browns should be in good shape. However, if he isn’t healthy and they have to rely on depth pieces like Adrian Clayborn and Chad Thomas to take bigger roles, they could be in some trouble.
Considering the talent that both Vernon and Garrett have, it is going to be a nightmare for opposing teams to try to stop both of them if they’re both healthy. Defenses game-planning to stop either one will be vulnerable to the other. With the pressure rates that the two individually bring, opposing quarterbacks will be rattled consistently, and the defensive backs could see an increase in interceptions as a result.
If Olivier Vernon is able to stay healthy for all of 2020, expect the Browns defense to put up some great numbers.