How the Cleveland Browns Defensive Line Can Adapt to Any Offense

Defensive Line Cleveland Browns
Spread the love

The Cleveland Browns have a defensive line that can adapt itself to almost any opposing offense. This is exactly what defensive coordinator Joe Woods has been aspiring to. A defensive line that can adjust itself to whatever opposing offenses have to throw at them. Flexibility is key, and the Browns may finally have accomplished this.

[pickup_prop id=”10744″]

The Cleveland Browns Defensive Line Can Adjust to Any Offense

Every Player Has a Specific Role

As Pete Smith from Browns Digest reiterated, Woods’ defense has always had a goal of being able to morph itself to match up with opposing defenses. And the way they can demonstrate that is with players who fit specific roles. The Browns found the missing pieces of the puzzle through free agency, but in a fascinating turn of events, managed to fortify itself from within. There are players who aren’t new to Cleveland’s defensive line but have become unforeseen contributors. Now, what if an offense wants to attack them through the air? With the run? The Browns now have the tools to counter that and more.

Cleveland has defensive linemen that can play up and down the line, with every player in a very specific role. It started with signing Jadeveon Clowney. He along with Myles Garrett can line up anywhere on the defensive line. Then Takkarist McKinley was acquired for his speed and pass rush ability off the edge – ideal for dealing with quarterbacks who extend plays with their legs. Andrew Billings’ purpose is to stuff the run as a two-gap nose tackle.  Malik Jackson could potentially be a tackle or end.

Against run-heavy teams, a possible scenario for running downs would be to put Garrett and Clowney on the edges, Jackson and Billings on the inside. Clowney would slide inside and McKinley would rush off the edge.

Malik McDowell Could Be a Big Surprise

Malik McDowell has surged up the depth chart after his dominance in the pre-season. He has primarily been consistent in generating pressure against opposing passers. Woods has constructed his defense in a way that could actually feature McDowell, especially against pass-heavy teams. The Kansas City Chiefs might experience this in week one.

Approaching the Chiefs Passing Game

In the highly anticipated week one game against Kansas City, the Browns will need to put a kink in their passing game. They will need an athletic front to generate pressure against Patrick Mahomes. Pass-heavy teams like the Chiefs will require Garrett and Clowney on the edges, Jackson and McDowell in the middle. McKinley and Jordan Elliott would attack Mahomes. Clowney would then have to get inside because he possesses the speed to chase the quarterback.

Billings May Finally Be Utilized

Billings will need to bounce back after a poor performance in the pre-season. He will have some time to develop before the Browns use him significantly as a nose against the Chicago Bears run game. Clowney and Garrett would provide size and length, forcing opponents back inside. McDowell would feature on short-yardage situations.  Against the Baltimore Ravens, Billings would penetrate the backfield to block their running lanes, giving little room to work. Seeing as the games are in November, the Browns would likely bring in supplementary depth from the practice squad to help him.

The rest of the defense will make adjustments based on the defensive line. To stop the run, Denzel Ward, Ronnie Harrison, John Johnson III, and rookie Greg Newsome will be kept on the field no matter what. Stopping the pass will be left up to Grant Delpit, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and Malcolm Smith.

The journey to AFC North domination is in full swing. The defensive line looks like it finally has the flexibility and ability to make a meaningful contribution to the Browns path to success.

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images