3 areas where the Browns need to make drastic improvements against Houston

Browns, Deshaun Watson. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, Deshaun Watson. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tom Brady. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

No.2: Generating pressure up the middle

The struggles of the Browns interior defensive line to stop the run are well documented. It was even accounted for heading into the season as a strategic weakness. Cleveland stocked their defensive tackle room with athletic three-techs in an attempt to provide an interior pass rush.

On paper, it was a simple trade-off. Invite the run, and in exchange have the ability to get after quarterbacks with your defensive tackles in a pass-happy league. Well, they got half of the equation right.

Teams are happy to run the ball on Cleveland’s soft interior, but the pass rush they thought they were going to get by being more athletic at defensive tackle just hasn’t been there. Through 11 games, this defensive tackle room has only netted a total of five sacks and 10 quarterback hits.

It’s not uncommon to have a defensive tackle room with single-digit sack numbers, but it’s their lack of pressure that is the biggest issue. When you have a defensive end like Myles Garrett, who routinely forces quarterbacks to step up in the pocket to evade his pressure, it’s crucial that you get a push up the middle to collapse the pocket.

The Browns have an opportunity this week against the Texans to let their defensive tackles do some of the heavy lifting in the pass rush game. The Texans’ interior offensive line has been the weak link in their offensive chain. Between their starting guards, Kenyon Green and A.J. Cann, and their center, Scott Quessenberry, the Texans have given up 16 sacks on the season.

If the Browns are going to develop a complimentary pass-rushing game with their defensive tackles and their defensive ends, this is the week to get it going. Is this the week that Perrion Winfrey makes an impact?