Carl Nassib Is The Defensive MVP Of Cleveland Browns Preseason

Aug 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Carl Nassib (94), running back Raheem Mostert (25) and linebacker Demario Davis (56) celebrate Nassib
Aug 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Carl Nassib (94), running back Raheem Mostert (25) and linebacker Demario Davis (56) celebrate Nassib /

Cleveland Browns rookie Carl Nassib is the preseason MVP of a struggling defensive unit.

Cleveland Browns defensive highlights are scarce, but it didn’t’ go without noticing that Carl Nassib was making his name known throughout the contest.

On Nassib’s first play, the 6-foot-7 end tipped a Matt Ryan pass. In the second quarter, he had a sack negated when one of his teammates was penalized for illegal contact.

The Penn Sate product rebounded with a sack that did count late in the third quarter. Nassib also forced and recovered a fumble late in the game.

Nassib now has two sacks in two preseason games.

Perhaps Nassib will find himself starting on the defensive line before Week 1. The Browns defensive line looked bad again, with Danny Shelton getting the start at nose tackle. Nick Hayden and Xavier Cooper surrounded the 2015 first-round draft choice.

Shelton got a lot of reps against the Falcons. To his credit, there was a time or two he pressured the quarterback, but there were also plays where he looked lethargic.

That’s a former first-round pick being pretty easily removed from a rushing play right up the middle–yeesh.

Be On The Lookout For Jamie Meder

Browns fans probably expected to see Jamie Meder starting at right defensive end. Cooper started in that instead. It was a a little bit of surprise, considering how big a deal it was that Meder had earned first-team reps in practice.

My speculation, based on nothing other than sitting on my couch, is that Hue Jackson gave Shelton a chance to really show him something against the Falcons, and that didn’t happen.

I wrote about Meder replacing Shelton at nose tackle earlier this week. I still think it’s going to happen

Joe Haden didn’t play, but another cornerback stood out: Jamar Taylor. The former second-round draft choice of the Miami Dolphins defensed a third-down pass to Mohamed Sanu well.

The play left one prominent Browns scribe thinking that Taylor has locked up the starting nickel corner job.

It’s intriguing to watch Taylor play, because the Browns’ new, analytically driven front office went out and traded to get him. He was thought of as a bust in Miami, but the powers-that-be in Cleveland saw some kind of value in his talents, kind of like how Paul DePodesta and Billy Beane saw something in Scott Hatteburg in Moneyball.

Get Excited About Robert Griffin

Ok, time to talk some offense. How about Robert Griffin III? I’ve said all along, that if he’s good and healthy, there’s no telling what this Browns team might do in the regular season.

No, I’m not buying Super Bowl tickets yet, but the way Griffin played makes it easier to predict more than the three games national pundits are giving them for.

Griffin has developed a chemistry with Terrelle Pryor that will at least make the Browns worth watching.

RG3‘s ability to run the ball on called rushing plays also gives the Browns offense something it’s lacked for a long, long, long time.

The biggest takeaway from Griffin running the ball isn’t his blazing quick speed, but the fact that he executed a perfect slide before taking any contact.

“It’s something that Coach has emphasized to me,” Griffin said via Pro Football Talk. “It’s something I’ve learned over my career just with situations that I’ve been in. I can’t thank everybody who has helped me get to that point where it’s hammered in. I’ve learned my lesson from mistakes in the past.”

I’m not sure what the ceiling is for RG3, but with Hue Jackson making it his mission to revive Griffin’s career, the former No. 2 overall pick is seeing some life breathed into his once lifeless stock.

Help Is On The Way

Griffin hasn’t even had his full arenseal of weapons, but there’s hope Josh Gordon and rookie Corey Coleman will play against Tampa Bay next week.

Coleman and Gordon were on the field in uniform for the pregame routine. Jackson wanted the two to get acquainted with the team’s activities, and decided to dress the duo for the process.

Next: Ohio State's Defense Reminiscent Of 2006 Unit

The Browns will hold joint practices with the Bucs on Tuesday and Wednesday in Florida.