3 Browns who need less playing time on defense in Week 6

Browns (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Browns (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Browns, Jacob Phillips. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Jacob Phillips, Linebacker

Jacob Phillips has not exactly stepped up the last couple of weeks in place of the injured Anthony Walker Jr. In fact, Phillips has been a big part of the problem when it comes to the team’s awful run defense in recent weeks.

He has continuously struggled with pursuit and run fits, as he makes very little impact in the run game. The Browns’ stance on Jacob Phillips became quite clear when they traded for Falcons LB Deion Jones immediately after their Week 5 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Jones has an impressive resume in his seven-year NFL career, totaling over 600 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 11 interceptions, and one Pro Bowl appearance. He has proven to be effective in the run game, while also having one of the highest linebacker coverage grades in recent years during his 2017 season:

He should soon step in at middle linebacker for Phillips, and Phillips should be shifted back to the role he had at the beginning of the season. The young LSU product has some potential, but he has proved over the last couple of weeks that he is simply not ready to be the starting middle linebacker on this defense.

Expect to see his snap counts steadily diminish in the upcoming few weeks, which is disappointing but necessary.

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