1. Cleveland Browns CBs: Press, press, press!
Everyone’s wondering if the defense has turned the corner, but the jury is still out. Perhaps defensive coordinator Joe Woods is starting to show some more trust in Denzel Ward and rookie Greg Newsome.
Along with Troy Hill and John Johnson, the quartet was uber physical with Cincinnati and in particular, star rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The corners played press-man coverage and made sure to deliver licks on every ball the receiver got his hands on.
By the end of the game, it was clear they were in Chase’s head.
Before Week 9, the Browns corners seemed to be deployed in soft coverage, letting quarterbacks and receivers play pitch-and-catch on short to intermediate throws with the hope of protecting the deep ball.
That obviously didn’t work and it’s too bad it took so long to get to this point.
Instead of being open from the get-go, receivers have to fight to get open. That gives the defensive line more time to ramp up the pressures on quarterbacks.
While it worked in Cincy, I’m not ready to declare Ward and Newsome as the new Hanford Dixon and Frank Minniefield. They’ve got to do it against another team other than Cincinnati–and they should be able to going up against a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones.