The Bills are the only thing between the Browns and defensive bankruptcy. Cleveland’s ranks 31st in the NFL, allowing 430.7 yards a game. Buffalo is last at 458.3.
The Bills are the only thing between the Browns and defensive bankruptcy.
Cleveland’s ranks 31st in the NFL, allowing 430.7 yards a game. Buffalo is last at 458.3.
This is a source of embarrassment for Browns Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham, who chatted Friday about how things might get better Sunday against Baltimore.
Issue: Grantham seems not to have lost his optimism, even though the Browns are allowing 23 first downs a game, leading to a 34:38 to 25:22 deficit in average time of possession.
Grantham: “I am excited because I do think they play hard and they try to do things the right way. The first thing that we have to correct is giving up explosive plays. Once that happens, I think a lot of other things will fall into place, and it will be much more of what we expect.”
Issue: Grantham defines explosive plays as runs of 15 yards or longer and passes for at least 25 yards. Such plays are one reason only Cleveland has allowed more than 100 points.
Grantham: “Everybody has a gap. When a guy gets in a seam, then he can get long yardage. That seam has to be handled. It can be an issue of a one-on-one battle. It can be an assignment issue. It can be your ability to close on the ball. Really, all of those things have factored into us giving up those plays.
“You’re always going to see something that maybe you haven’t seen before. When that happens, you have to apply your concepts. When you apply your concepts, you should be able to get through the down.”
Issue: In last year’s draft, the Browns thought about spending the No. 12 overall pick on nose tackle Haloti Ngata. Instead, they traded down with Baltimore, which picked Ngata, then selected pass-rushing linebacker Kamerion Wimbley at No. 13.
Grantham: “In a 3-4, you have to have outside backers, because they generate your pass rush and playmaking ability. In theory, it’s a little bit easier to find a bigger guy who can press the pocket inside and be stout later on. (Wimbley) has been very good. He’s improved every game this year.”
Issue: Safety Brodney Pool is a first-year starter. Cornerback Eric Wright is a rookie Round 2 pick. Linebackers Kamerion Wimbley, D’Qwell Jackson and Leon Williams are second-year pros. Any worries about their confidence?
Grantham: “A little bit. You also have to look at the positives. (At Oakland), we give up a big-play touchdown on a third-and-1. Well, the very next series they’ve got first-and-goal at the 7. The character of our defense and of our team showed up because we held them to a field goal. That tells me we have something to work with and that they want to do well.”
Issue: Linebacker Willie McGinest has missed the first three games while recovering from back surgery. He might play Sunday.
Grantham: “He looked fine yesterday. He practiced well. ... He’s a vocal guy. He has a presence out there that I like. I think he’ll help us in all phases.”
Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. (shoulder separation) hopes he can play Sunday.
Winslow said the shoulder issue might follow him through the season. He said it’s less an issue than his knees were in 2006, when he started all 16 games.
Browns left guard Eric Steinbach deemed himself fully recovered from a sprained knee that cost him the preseason. That’s good news for an offense that needs him to play up to a $49.5 million contract.
The Browns listed the following players as questionable on the week’s final injury report: Winslow, linebacker Antwan Peek (foot), defensive end Orpheus Roye (knee), linebacker Willie McGinest (back), punter Dave Zastudil (back), receiver Tim Carter (knee).
Key Ravens listed as questionable are left tackle Jonathan Ogden (toe) and wideout Mark Clayton (calf).
Reach Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail email@example.com