Intriguing Battles on the Defensive Side: Cleveland Browns Training Camp
In addition to his hard nose (and that’s putting it lightly) mentality, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will have to monitor a handful of interesting match-ups among potential starters for the Cleveland Browns. Being in the business for so long – Williams will be able to identify the right guy; what I would like to see is the coach getting the most of each of the athletes competing for a starting gig.
Logjam at Defensive Tackle
This refers to the three technique spot in the defensive line. Assuming that Danny Shelton mans the zero/one technique role, and the Emmanuel Ogbah and Myles Garrett are the men on the edge – that leaves one spot remaining for the defensive line. Desmond Bryant, Jamie Meder, Larry Ogunjobi, Caleb Brantley, and Carl Nassib could each be the missing link for this unit. This is easily the most interesting position group to see who emerges from the Browns. Bryant should be the front runner, but I would not sleep on one of the youngsters. Meder has filled a role in run support, but perhaps his new contract has made him a bit more eager to improve as a player overall.
People have penned Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey as bona-fide linebackers who should be on the field a majority of the snaps during the upcoming question. With the recent trade of Demario Davis, the question that comes is – who will be the third linebacker? In addition, will the Browns utilize Nickel and Dime packages (with an additional secondary member or two on the field and one fewer linebacker) instead? I would not be surprised with the latter, as the NFL has become a pass-heavy league over the years. As far as the linebackers are concerned, Tank Carder and Dominique Alexander are two viable options, while second year pro Joe Schobert will get a shot. I am intrigued with Alexander and Schobert and hope one impresses in training camp. One thing is certain, the Browns desperately need a reliable guy outside of Collins and Kirksey.
Who Plays Safety
Ibrabheim Campbell, Trey Caldwell, Calvin Pryor, and Jabril Peppers are just four of the names who could possibly sew up roles for the safety spots in the orange and brown. Toss in a Jason McCourty, and the Browns could have options in the defensive backfield. The big issue is that none of these guys have a proven track record in the NFL – including Pryor, who was a former first round selection. The door is wide open for Peppers to come in a take a job day one. Like with other areas on this roster, the Browns will need a gigantic improvement in this part of the team before they can have a competitive defense.
Conclusion: The offense should feature several good battles in training camp, but I am looking more towards the defense. This unit could be above average in this league, but all hands will have to be on deck. Additionally, the Browns can either utilize veterans or rookies on their squad – it will be interesting to see who comes out ahead.