The linebacker room has struggled for the Cleveland Browns but Sione Takitaki seeing more playing time has shown he can stabilize the room.
Cleveland Browns fans rejoiced on Monday after the defense so many thought they would see finally showed up. The Bengals were without star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase but still have plenty of weapons and the Browns shut them down.
A big part of that effort was the play of linebacker Sione Takitaki who keeps earning more playing time and continues to impress while doing so.
Takitaki has always been a strong side linebacker that can stop the run in a limited role in the early run-down situations. But with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah out this past week and the rest of the room struggling he has seen more and more playing time.
He shows great instincts and high football IQ with his ability to diagnose a play and attack his assignment and swarm to the ball.
The above clip is a perfect example of reading the play and trusting your instincts to attack the ball carrier and make the play. He follows the running back as he leaks out, keeps his feet moving, then follows the quarterback’s eyes to attack the ball carrier right after the catch is made.
Tackling has been an issue for the Browns’ defense but Takitaki has always excelled in that area and is a breath of fresh air in run defense. He is the type of linebacker that has the size to deal with offensive linemen climbing to the second level and fighting off the blocks.
Takitaki will get more opportunities in the coming weeks but he may force the team to consider extending the linebacker before too long.