The defense has the same issues as last year
The same, exact issues. Everyone blamed the safeties last year. People loved to bash on Andrew Sendejo, but against the two best passing teams the Browns have faced all year, what happened? They still got roasted, for the same, exact, reasons. Safeties played up close, didn’t assist over the top due to the zone coverages they were running and the Browns got burned.
Maybe not having Richard LeCounte is hurting the team. Maybe the poor play of the linebackers, who constantly leave the middle of the field open, is causing them to cheat up more. Maybe the zone coverage is the culprit and the team is actually fantastic but we have a terrible defensive coordinator? Maybe this defense is really just relying on a few guys to make plays while everyone else is filling gaps?
It’s probably the last one.
The defense has got to improve and fast. It’s one thing for the Chiefs or Chargers to smack you around but don’t forget the defense couldn’t stop Davis Mills of the Texans. It’s more likely that the reason they looked so “good” against the Bears and Vikings has less to do with schemes and more to do with both of those respective teams having horrid coaches and game plans.
To be fair, you can’t discount injuries for some of the issues the team faced. Yet, Joe Jackson, Takk McKinley, and the corners weren’t the issues. A.J. Green played a solid game considering he’s the sixth corner on the team facing off with Pro Bowl receivers.
The players who really struggled were the linebackers covering over the middle and the safeties over the top. The injury positions weren’t the ones really getting beat, it was the “healthy” positions. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is so far inconsistent but good enough to rely on. Most of his mistakes are rookie blunders and nothing to worry about. He may not be a Top 10 linebacker in the league ever but he could make two or three Pro Bowls in his career at least. Outside of him, you’re next best player at either positions sets is Sione Takitaki. It’s fine if Takitaki is your fifth-best player between your linebackers and safeties, he’s a solid starter and won’t ever demand big money. Now, if he’s your second-best player comparatively among the linebackers and safeties, then that’s a problem.
Something needs to change and fast, this defense is too inconsistent to rely on. Even Kevin Stefanski knows that because he told the defense to let the Chargers score. When your head coach knows your defense can’t be relied upon, there are issues. You’d never see the ’85 Bears or ’02 Buccaneers let a team score.