Cleveland Browns Question No. 1: Can the defense continue to get to the quarterback?
Last week the Browns defense showed the NFL what it is capable of after a big offseason focused on rebuilding.
Cleveland was able to sack Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields nine times, the most in a game for the franchise since 1946, which is ironic as they wore the 75th year anniversary uniforms in the game.
Myles Garrett led the way with 4.5 sacks, setting a new career and single-game franchise record. Believe it or not, but there are some Browns fans out there who don’t think it is wise to give Garrett all the money the Browns are about to pay him once his new contract kicks in next year.
Last Sunday was just the latest example of why Garrett deserves the contract he received. After a slow start with one sack in the first two weeks, Garrett rebounded in a huge way and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week. He has surely launched himself near the top of the Defensive Player of the Year award list.
Along with Garrett, offseason acquisition Jadeveon Clowney contributed his first two sacks in a Browns uniform. Ronnie Harrison recorded a sack with Takk McKinley, Malik Jackson, and rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah each recorded half-a-sack.
This Sunday the Vikings bring a high-octane offense led by Kirk Cousins. Now, I know you’re probably thinking “Kirk Cousins? The guy who struggles in primetime?” and that’s fine, but you should know he’s actually pretty good.
Through three games, Cousins is 88-of-119 for 918 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions, with a 78 QBR. His offensive line has been good in protection, as he has been sacked just five times.
Cleveland will need to get after Cousins early and often just like they did against Fields and the Bears while also getting their hands up or Cousins can make them pay. Cousins has the likes of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson to dish the rock to, so the pressure must be constant.
The Browns showed what the revamped defense can do and that will have to be on display yet again Sunday against the Vikings.