The Cleveland Browns need several key players to start playing as expected.
There are three players the Cleveland Browns can rely on at all times this year, and those three men are Sionie Takitaki, Anthony Walker, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Maybe, if not the best, one of the best linebacking trios this season based on performance. When we talk about players needing to step up, they are not people we’re referring to.
Even Myles Garrett, who is as bad against the run as he is great against the pass, is reliable. We know he’s going to get swallowed up on running plays and absolutely dominate on passing downs. That’s who he is. He’s an incomplete player and largely always has been. Yet, sacks are a glamor stat so as long as he gets them, fans will be happy.
Outside of those four men, there isn’t a player worth their contract on defense and we’re about to talk about the three who are most in need of stepping up.
Three Cleveland Browns defenders who need to step up against the Pittsburgh Steelers
Every other year Denzel Ward looks very average it seems like. He was a Pro Bowler in 2018, and 2021 but not in 2019 or 2020. He again looks like he’s regressed and it’s not just on the deep route to Corey Davis. Ward is letting a lot of open looks happen around him. Playing Cover 2 isn’t hard but yet Ward struggles in zone coverage or at least has been struggling in 2022. If this were Greedy Williams or Greg Newsome, fine, whatever. They make peanuts. Ward, however, now owns a sizeable portion of the cap. He can’t keep playing as badly as he is.
Grant Delpit was supposed to be the steal of 2020, but an injury ended his season. He returned in 2021 and looked pretty bad as a rotational player. Now, as a full-time starter, Delpit is looking even worse without anyone to spell him on passing downs. Delpit’s ego seems to be a huge issue, as the young safety can often be seen jawing during games, only to then give up deep bombs on several occasions already this season. Delpit looks to be a problematic player and if he doesn’t straighten himself out soon, he could be very quickly off the Browns. This is not a team that can afford to give young players time to find themselves. This team is now built to win now. This makes Andrew Berry leaning so hard on young, unproven players so mind-boggling dumb.
Anyone in the middle of the line
Anyone. Anyone, please, do the job. Jordan Elliot is a bad player, not surprising, he’s always been bad. Tommy Togiai is inconsistent. Perrion Winfrey literally can’t stay on the field and Taven Bryan is mediocre going on Warren Sapp. Bryan’s play is average at best, a solid starter but considering how bad his anchor-mates have been, he looks like an All-Pro in comparison. This is what happens when you think you’re talent evaluation trumps all others.