Emmanuel Ogbah must be the biggest reason the Cleveland Browns cut veteran Paul Kruger.
Cleveland Browns rookie Emmanuel Ogbah didn’t wait long to make his presence felt during his team’s preseason finale Thursday night.
Ogbah, who was playing outside linebacker, sacked Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer on 3 and 5 in the first quarter.
Ogbah showed size, speed and athleticism in making the play, which was his second sack of the preseason. The hit got the Browns defense off the field and was an early triumph for a struggling unit.
Lots of Browns fans cried foul earlier this week over the team cutting veteran Paul Kruger. Kruger was a beloved player, but perhaps these Dawg Pound members are failing to even try to see the forest for the trees.
Remember when A’s manager Art Howe is reluctant to use players being pushed by analytics loving general manager Billy Beane in the movie, “Moneyball”?
But if you’re going to commit to a philosophy, you better be all in.
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Cutting Kruger shows the Browns are just that.
Kruger was a good a player. Ogbah is already a good player, and he can be better.
The Browns team building strategy now relies on analytics. It’s why Paul DePodesta’s title is Chief Strategy Officer.
The Browns replaced a 30-year-old linebacker with a fresh, hungry rookie who has play making ability. Ogbah is cheaper and will probably produce more than the 2.5 sacks Kruger recorded last season.
Cleveland could of kept doing things the old way, having Kruger take reps. But the Browns aren’t going to the Super Bowl with Kruger. Whether we like it or not, Cleveland is undergoing a massive rebuild The new front office is trying to identify impact players who can help achieve this goal.
Fellow rookie, Carl Nassib, started opposite of Ogbah at outside linebacker. Nassib had another excellent game, as he’s been the Browns best defensive player in the preseason.
“Rookies Carl Nassib and Emmanuel Ogbah are defensive linemen with speed. That’s why there is reason for optimism about these selections. Nassib batted down a pass. The stat sheet said it was only his second of the preseason, but I swear he has more than that. Ogbah was credited with his second sack of the preseason. I thought Nassib also had a hand in that,” Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto wrote.
“The main point is Ogbah (a second-round pick) and Nassib (a third-round pick) look like NFL players and have not been overmatched in the preseason,” he said.
Pluto also praised Wisconsin rookie Joe Schobert.
Pluto believes the play of Schobert is another reason the Browns cut Kruger.
“He has had some nice moments on special teams and you do notice him when he’s playing outside linebacker,” Pluto wrote.
Ogbah was the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year. Nassib led college football in sacks (16)and forced fumbles (6).
If they’re going to be impact makers in the NFL, we’re probably going to know sooner than later. Staying with a veteran, such as Kruger, would only delay the development process.
On Sept. 11, the real test starts in Philadelphia. So far, Ogbah, Nassib and Schobert are offering hope. Can they keep it up? The future of the Browns defense depends on it.