Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry set out to fix the defensive side of the ball this past offseason. Sunday was a culmination of his hard work. The Browns defense performed about as good as any defense ever has in the NFL routing the Cincinnati Bengals 24-3.
Not only did the defense show up, but most of Berry's new additions already made an impact.
The biggest impact came from the sideline
Cleveland's most significant impact Sunday on defense was new coordinator Jim Schwartz. From the first snap on defense, you saw a different mentality on the field. Players were playing with an attitude and attacking non-stop. There was a clear understanding of everything they were doing Sunday.
It can't be said any better than Jake Burns did there. The vibe is different. These players know what to do and where to be in this defense. That comes down to Schwartz and his ability to make everything simple by using his talent to the fullest.
He had corners that excel in man coverage playing man coverage(I know, crazy). He had his defensive lineman playing everywhere. Linebackers were flowing to the ball and making plays. It all looked in sync and beautiful.
His aggressive defensive personality was on full display Sunday. Adding him to the coaching staff was praised from every level of the media, and we all saw why. His defense led the way to a huge division win to start the 2023 season off on the right foot.
New guys made an impact Sunday
Za'Darius Smith is a bad man. Smith decided to make his presence felt on the first play of the game.
Per Pro Football Reference, Smith ended the day with four pressures and four quarterback hits. He would grade out at 90.5 overall per Pro Football Focus. Andrew Berry is looking great for making this trade already.
Tomlinson did what he was brought here to do, take up space and let guys make plays. He ended the game with a solid 65.6 PFF grade. He had one tackle. The key here is linebackers were making plays because Tomlinson was upfront, eating up blockers. The best is yet to come from the Brown's top free-agent grab.
Ogbo Okoronkwi had about as good an opening performance as you could ask for. He was all over the field. Obo would end the game with three tackles, one for a loss, one sack, and one pressure on 34 defensive snaps. It was a great game from the young up-and-coming edge.
Best of the rest
Grant Delpit had the game of his career on Sunday. He showed up in the run game and the passing game all day long. The play of the day from him was easily his pass defense of Tee Higgins.
But that was not all when it came to this game. Delpit also had eight total tackles, one for a loss and a quarterback pressure and hit. If this is the player the Browns get all year, every quarterback they play better be watching No. 22.
Oh yeah...Myles Garrett is really good. Once again, Garrett showed off his freaking strength and speed. He also gave us a little basketball crossover action before nearly destroying Joe Burrow.
Garrett would get his first sack of the year on fourth down to crush the Bengals' hopes of getting back into this game. He finished with four pressures and three quarterback knockdowns.
Overall the Browns defense had one of the best showing ever against a talented Bengals offense. The goal now is to carry that confidence into the rest of the season and continue to dominate.