Jump to content
Mind Character

The 53, Needs, & Tough Roster Decisions Ahead

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Mind Character said:

BBC is a highly intelligent player and we don't have a backup FS that we can rely on yet (Derron Smith or UFA Elijah Campbell)... so BC is serving that role.. which also allows us to have an emergency CB at the safety position which is a position that often sees the two deep receive few snaps throughout the season outside of special teams...

Still no.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/6/2018 at 7:24 AM, Mind Character said:

The 53 -- ***UPDATED 8/6/18 -- Post-Corey Coleman Trade****

As the season and the 53-man cut rapidly approaches, our roster and some difficult decisions ahead are starting to come into focus.

When it comes to thinking about the best way to build our roster heading into the season, the following questions regarding position group player composition are at the forefront of my mind:

1.) Can we really afford NOT to keep all 6 LBs?:

      For 43 defenses, the high usage of nickel defensive packages has caused such teams to keep 5 LBs at Max at the final cut with many teams opting to take their chances with 4 on the 53 while storing a few others on the practice squad. In our case, all 6 of our LBs are too talented to cut as James Burgess' productivity in Jamie Collins absence showed that he could easily be a starting LB in the league with the addition of Kendricks that makes 5 LBs we have to keep (Kirksey, Shobert, Collins, Kendricks, Burgess).

     That leaves just Genard Avery our 5th Rnd Pick. He's too talented to cut and have him make it to the practice squad. His upside and pass rush versatility means that we will likely not cut him. If we do get rid of a LB, it may very well be Burgess but only through trade. In my opinion, we have to keep all 6 players as they're too talented to cut. With Collins and/or Kirksey carrying big cap numbers, it makes sense to keep the other LBs as well in the event that we need to move on from either of them at the end of the year.

2.) Can we really afford NOT to Keep 5 DEs?:

       Much like the decision with the LB position group, talent/potential impact reasons necessitate that we likely keep 5 DEs as Chris Smith has been a daily standout since being signed in the classrooms, weight room, and on the field at both inside and outside positions. I've been told that Carl Nassib has also taken another step and has finally achieved a functional level of strength and lower body explosion that can help him become an effective role or spot starter for years to come.

         Chad Thomas has longterm starter upside and will likely make the team based on his draft selection position being in the 3rd. All in all, the group's players Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, Chris Smith, Chad Thomas, & Carl Nassib have to make the team. The LBs & DEs kept on the team will cause a lot of strain in the decision making of who to and who not to keep in other position groups.

3.) It's a Necessity to Sign another Spot Starter Quality CB, right?

        It's been a real misperception in my opinion that we have this great depth and quality in the CB room. Without Denzel Ward's projected impact, we have a handful of CB who have never been consistent starter quality  CBs (Terrance Mitchell, EJ Gaines, BBC) especially on the boundary. That's a serious problem. IMO we have to sign an Adam Jones or Beshaud Breeland type of CB that can moonlight as a quality starter if required to do so. Overall, after this singing I believe we keep 5 CBs in total with Simeon Thomas no being a good enough player to survive the 53 cut at the start of the season.

      Denzel Rice has been making a lot of noise in Training Camp and may be a candidate to make the squad; however, as I don't believe we can keep 6 CBs, it's either Denzel Rice or an Adam Jones/Beshaud Breeland type. In that case, we move forward with the veteran with quality starter experience.

4.) 10 OL Again? Probably....Right?:

           Every year I project that we keep 10 OL and every year someone thinks it's blasphemy and unnecessary. The truth is the vast majority of teams keep 9+ OL with over 65% of the league keeping 10. This is done especially when there is uncertainty of talent/impact within the position group. Desmond Harrison is too much of a LT unicorn prospect for him not to make the 53... With that in mind, imo our 2 worst OLineman in terms of potential impact and quality play ability are Austin Reiter and Greg Robinson. If we choose to cut one, it will likely be Greg Robinson, but to me Reiter is vastly overrated and should be upgraded upon if possible in the waiver market or otherwise.

5.) Do we Sign a Vet WR and Who's the Impact WR if JG is Unavailable?

         I don't think there is a WR out there available at the moment that can moonlight as a starter WR1/WR2 other than Jeremy Maclin.. Unfortunately, John Dorsey mushroom clouded that relationship. Soooo..... where does that leave us? It leaves us needed two rookies (Ratley; Callaway); a WR with 95 yds max and 1 TD max as season totals to their name (Jeff Janis); and a camp all star but limited athleticism and longterm impact player (Rashard Higgins). Our WR group without Corey Coleman has the makings of a disaster. Derrick Willies has longterm upside...if we have to cut one of Higgins or Janis, Higgins probably wins that roster race even though Janis might be the better option for pursuing wins right away.

6.) Close Calls - What Will Be the Final Players Considered at the 53: The Close Call Cuts imo will come down to whether or whether not to keep the 10th OLineman (Greg Robinson or Austin Reiter), the 5th Defensive End (Carl Nassib), and the 6th CB (Denzel Rice or Michael Jordan)/

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My Projected Browns 53-man roster breaks down as follows:

**** As talent falls off other rosters, I expect the bottom of our roster to look much different and the defensive and offensive number of players kept to more equalize. Until then, this is an exercise to give a picture of what our roster could look like based on the best talent that I see on the roster at this time.****

--

Offense (26)

Quarterbacks (3):

QB: Tyrod Taylor // Baker Mayfield // Drew Stanton

------------

Running Backs (3):

RB: Carlos Hyde // Nick Chubb // Duke Johnson // Practice Squad: Matthew Dayes

------------

Fullback (1):

FB: Danny Vitale;

------------

Wide Receivers (6):

WR1: Josh Gordon // Jeff Janis // Practice Squad: Derrick Willies

WR2: Antonio Callaway // Damion Ratley // Rashard Higgins

Slot-WR: Jarvis Landry // (Duke Johnson)

------------

Tight Ends (3):

TE: David Njoku // Daniel Fells // Seth DeValve

------------

Offensive Linemen (10):

LT: Joel Bitonio // Shon Coleman // Desmond Harrison

LG: Austin Corbett // (Joel Bitonio)

C: J.C. Tretter // Austin Reiter

RG: Kevin Zeitler // Spencer Drango

RT: Chris Hubbard // Greg Robinson

-------------------------

Defense (24)

Defensive linemen (9):

DE: Myles Garrett // Chris Smith

NT: Trevon Coley // Jamie Meder // Practice Squad: Zaycoven Henderson

DT: Larry Ogunjobi // Caleb Brantley

DE: Emmanuel Ogbah // Carl Nassib // Chad Thomas

------------

Linebackers (6):

SLB: Christian Kirksey // Genard Avery

MLB: Joe Schobert // Mychal Kendricks

WLB: Jamie Collins Sr. // James Burgess 

------------

Corner Backs (5):

CB: Denzel Ward // Mike Jordan Or Vet Signing (Beshaud Breeland or Adam Jones) // Practice Squad: Denzel Rice (If Eligible Still)

CB: Terrance Mitchell // E.J. Gaines // Practice Squad: Simeon Thomas

NCB: T.J. Carrie

------------

Free Safeties (2):

FS: Damarious Randall // Briean Boddy-Calhoun // Practice Squad: Elijah Campbell

------------

Strong Safeties (2):

SS: Jabrill Peppers // Derrick Kindred

------------

Specialists (3)

Kicker (1): Zane Gonzalez; 

Punter (1):Britton Colquitt;

Long snapper (1):Charley Hughlett

 

12 hours ago, Mind Character said:

Our Priority position needs at this point imo are:

1.) LT

2.) WR

3.) CB

4.) Interior DT

------------

It will be easier to address the WR and CB positions via FA  or the waiver wire....

I doubt that a quality LT or DT comes available that is better than what we have...

Jonathan Hankins is a name that has come up before that I am still surprised that we haven't taken a look at...

 

Core Practice Squad Projection:

1.) RB Matthew Dayes

2.) WR Derrick Willies

3.) WR CJ Board

4.) CB Denzel Rice

5.) CB Simeon Thomas

6.) FS Elijah Campbell

7.) LB B.J. Bello

8.) OG Avery Gennesy // OT Kevin Bowen

9.) TE Davone Cajuste

10.) DT Jeremy Faulk

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, given that tonight is the first preseason game, here is why I feel better about the Browns this season. Given my background, also, I will try to add in some stats discussion.

1) QB play. Football Outsiders has a stat that tracks "yards over replacement/average player." Last season, Kizer was worth -756 yards, and Tyrod was +121. That amounts to a four win difference. Now, the stat is not supposed to be applied that way, but it does signal the sizable improvement.
 
2) Defense. So the Browns' rush defense last season was amazing. Football Outsiders had us as the fourth best rush defense (yards allowed vs expected average), NFL.com as seventh best (rush yards allowed), and PFF as ninth best (more numbers). The problem is that our pass defense was awful. Because of the value of passing, this made the run defense less important.
 
--The Browns had the worst pass rush in the NFL last year by every statistic. You literally cannot find one that had the Browns as above God awful. A big reason why is that, even though we blitzed a lot, receivers torched our secondary and QBs could find the open man easily.
 
--As a consequence, the Browns have revamped and improved their secondary, which should also help the pass rush. We drafted Denzel Ward who Football Outsiders and PFF had ranked as one of the two best corners in college football last year. This is surprising because Ward does not create a lot of turnovers, and turnovers are the easiest way for a corner to build value. At OSU, Ward just created an island because he is so great at marking receivers and preventing them from getting catches and making clean routes. He is the perfect corner to improve our pass defense and pass rush.
---the analytical reasoning is straight-forward. Every second your team is on offense increases the odds of you scoring. The opposite is true on defense. So corners that create turnovers increase the odds of you scoring more and the defense scoring less.
 
--The Browns also brought in EJ Gaines and TJ Carrie. Both guys were solid but not spectacular coverage corners. They won't win you games, but they can do a good job on the other team's second/third best receivers. They also brought in BBC who is great at defending the slot and Damarious Randle who can fill the opposite safety position to Peppers.
 
--In sum, I think the secondary is much improved, and that this will lead to less opposing completions and more effective rushes against the other team's QB.
 
3) Receivers. Our best receiver last year was either Higgins or Louis. That is terrifying. Landry, Gordon, and Calloway should totally transform the routes our receivers can run, leading to a more complex offense, and greater production in the passing game. This, in turn, should improve our already-good running game.
 
Ultimately, we are young, and do not have any position group that is clearly in the top-10 in the NFL. With that said, I really believe that 8-8 is in the cards, 9-7 is the high-end, and I would be shocked if we win less than 6.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@jking948

Good stuff..

Football Outsiders is an awesome resource..

I'd have to disagree with the "being shocked if we win less than 6" part as we have some serious Question marks at position that often dictate winning: WR, LT, Interior DT (Interior rush ability is more disruptive to a QB relative to outside rush, and CB...

I see a win range from 4 to 9 wins with it being more likely to be on the lower end....

We shall see... a 7 win season... progress and health for impact and young players...  sign me up...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

So, something I had not yet heard until I read Nathan Zegura's in depth breakdown of the defense that was pretty good...

https://www.clevelandbrowns.com/news/zegura-s-deep-dive-analyzing-the-defense-after-9-days-of-training-camp

Apparently, Boddy-Calhoun despite being listed as the FS2 on the chart has still been getting the majority of first team reps at Nickel CB....

I was unaware of that...

So, I guess the CB depth is as follows:

CB1 Denzel Ward // TJ Carrie // Mike Jordan // Denzel Rice

CB2 Terrance Mitchell // EJ Gaines // (Mike Jordan)

NCB Briean Boddy- Calhoun // (TJ Carrie)

 

Edited by Mind Character

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jking948 said:

Alright, given that tonight is the first preseason game, here is why I feel better about the Browns this season. Given my background, also, I will try to add in some stats discussion.

1) QB play. Football Outsiders has a stat that tracks "yards over replacement/average player." Last season, Kizer was worth -756 yards, and Tyrod was +121. That amounts to a four win difference. Now, the stat is not supposed to be applied that way, but it does signal the sizable improvement.
 
2) Defense. So the Browns' rush defense last season was amazing. Football Outsiders had us as the fourth best rush defense (yards allowed vs expected average), NFL.com as seventh best (rush yards allowed), and PFF as ninth best (more numbers). The problem is that our pass defense was awful. Because of the value of passing, this made the run defense less important.
 
--The Browns had the worst pass rush in the NFL last year by every statistic. You literally cannot find one that had the Browns as above God awful. A big reason why is that, even though we blitzed a lot, receivers torched our secondary and QBs could find the open man easily.
 
--As a consequence, the Browns have revamped and improved their secondary, which should also help the pass rush. We drafted Denzel Ward who Football Outsiders and PFF had ranked as one of the two best corners in college football last year. This is surprising because Ward does not create a lot of turnovers, and turnovers are the easiest way for a corner to build value. At OSU, Ward just created an island because he is so great at marking receivers and preventing them from getting catches and making clean routes. He is the perfect corner to improve our pass defense and pass rush.
---the analytical reasoning is straight-forward. Every second your team is on offense increases the odds of you scoring. The opposite is true on defense. So corners that create turnovers increase the odds of you scoring more and the defense scoring less.
 
--The Browns also brought in EJ Gaines and TJ Carrie. Both guys were solid but not spectacular coverage corners. They won't win you games, but they can do a good job on the other team's second/third best receivers. They also brought in BBC who is great at defending the slot and Damarious Randle who can fill the opposite safety position to Peppers.
 
--In sum, I think the secondary is much improved, and that this will lead to less opposing completions and more effective rushes against the other team's QB.
 
3) Receivers. Our best receiver last year was either Higgins or Louis. That is terrifying. Landry, Gordon, and Calloway should totally transform the routes our receivers can run, leading to a more complex offense, and greater production in the passing game. This, in turn, should improve our already-good running game.
 
Ultimately, we are young, and do not have any position group that is clearly in the top-10 in the NFL. With that said, I really believe that 8-8 is in the cards, 9-7 is the high-end, and I would be shocked if we win less than 6.

Just as an update, I turned this into a blog post with a few more stats, talk about Mitchell, and two videos.

https://sportsbystats.com/2018/08/09/three-big-reasons-why-the-cleveland-browns-will-improve-in-2018/

Quote

The Cleveland Browns are in the midst of the worst two-year stretch of Football in NFL history. They have been worse than terrible. They were absolutely awful.

Nonetheless, this team should improve significantly during the 2018 season. Here are three reasons why: quarterback play, a vastly improved secondary, and a transformed group of receivers.

The first reason is quarterback play. Football Outsiders has a stat that tracks “yards over replacement/average player.” Effectively, this stat looks at “average” quarterback production – both running and passing – and compares it across the league.

Last season, the Browns’ starting quarterback, DeShone Kizer, was worth -756 yards. Their starter this year, Tyrod Taylor, was worth +121 yards.

The reason why this is so important is that the NFL quarterback is individually worth more to a team’s win percentage than any position in any other major sport.

Thus, this yard differential amounts to at least a four win difference. Now, the stat is not supposed to be applied that way, but it does signal the sizable improvement.

The second reason is the improved defense. Last season, the Browns’ rush defense was actually one of the ten best in the NFL. Football Outsiders had Cleveland as the fourth best rush defense (yards allowed vs expected average), NFL.com as seventh best (rush yards allowed), and PFF as ninth best (regression analysis).

A big reason for this was the partnership of Emmanuel Ogbah and Myles Garrett. Last season, when the opponent’s offense ran right and Ogbah was on the field, the Browns allowed 2.18 yards per carry. When Ogbah got hurt, however, they allowed 4.55 yards per carry.

As a consequence, if both Garrett and Ogbah stay healthy, fans should expect a stout run defense.

The problem is that the Browns’ pass defense was awful in 2018. The fact is, passing generates more yards per play compared to running, and because of this value, the overall defense struggled.

The Browns had the worst pass rush in the NFL last year by every statistic. Football Outsiders, Pro Football Focus, and the NFL’s rankings all ranked the 2018 Browns’ pass rush as horrendous. A big reason why is that, even though Cleveland blitzed a lot, receivers torched the secondary and QBs could find the open man easily.

Hue Jackson’s team blitzed the second-most times in the NFL last season. Specifically, per Football Outsiders, they blitzed on 38% of plays. The problem is that the Browns defended 1,026 plays last year, blitzed on 390 of them, and only made contact with the quarterback 45 times.

This is a sign of a secondary that cannot stay in front of their receivers. As a consequence, the Browns have revamped and improved their secondary, which should also help the pass rush.

First, new GM John Dorsey drafted Denzel Ward. Pro Football Focus statistics show that Ward allowed the lowest “catch rate” – or the number of made catches during catch opportunities – of any cornerback in college football over the past two years.

Moreover, both Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders – two analytically-heavy resources – ranked Ward as one of the best corners in college football last year. This is surprising because Ward does not create a lot of turnovers, and turnovers are the easiest way for a corner to build analytical value. The reasoning is straight-forward: every second your team is on offense increases the odds of you scoring and vice-versa. Consequently, corners that create turnovers increase the odds of you scoring more and the defense scoring less. At Ohio State, Ward created an island by marking receivers and preventing them from catching the ball and making clean routes.

The Browns also brought in Terrance Mitchell, EJ Gaines, and TJ Carrie. During camp, so far, Mitchell has seemed to hold the starting position opposite Ward. Just two years ago Mitchell allowed a 55.5 passer rating on the right side for Kansas City. He struggled last year but, for the Browns, has been consistent. Moreover, Gaines allowed an excellent .82 yards per cover snap, and Carrie performed well last season, albeit inconsistently.

All three players are solid, but not spectacular, coverage corners. They won’t win you games, but they can do a good job on the other team’s second/third best receivers, and lengthen the amount of time a quarterback has to hold the ball.

Additionally, these four corners will join a secondary with Briean Boddy-Calhoun, who is superb at defending the slot and allowed a leave-leading .46 yards per cover snap.

Finally, the team added Damarious Randall in a trade for DeShone Kizer. Randall will play free safety, which allows former second round pick, Jabrill Peppers, to play strong safety, which is historically where the second-year player’s better position.

In sum, the secondary is much improved, and that this will lead to less opposing completions and more effective rushes against the other team’s QB.

The third and final reason why the Browns will be better this season is their receivers. Last year, Cleveland’s best receiver was Rashard Higgins, followed by Ricardo Louis. The problem is that the two players were statistically mediocre. This season, Dorsey added Jarvis Landry, who improved his quarterback’s passer rating by +7.3 points on quick outs, 34.1 points on out routes, and 21.3 points on in routes.

Additionally, the Browns may bring back Josh Gordon, who is one of the three best receivers in the NFL when he actually plays. Finally, they drafted Antonio Callaway, who was a first-round talent that fell due to character concerns.

Overall, Landry, Gordon, and Calloway should totally transform the routes our receivers can run, leading to a more complex offense, and greater production in the passing game. This, in turn, should improve the already-impressive running game.

Ultimately, the team is young, and does not have any position group that is clearly in the top-10 in the NFL. Nonetheless, there are clear improvements, and this fan expects a massive turnaround.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, candyman93 said:

I’m speculating, but Jamie Collins, JC Tretter, and Britton Colquitt will be cut next year.

 

https://overthecap.com/salary-cap/cleveland-browns/

 

4 minutes ago, NudeTayne said:

And TJ Carrie unless he shows something this season.

Why though?  We’re not hurting for cash and we don’t have anyone better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, LETSGOBROWNIES said:

 

Why though?  We’re not hurting for cash and we don’t have anyone better.

It all depends on if BBC gets more corner playing time, if Gaines is still here, if one of the long shots like Rice or McKinnon makes the leap etc. We appear to have a bit of a logjam at CB and he has a fairly big cap number that is mostly non-guaranteed after this season. It's too early to know much, of course--all just speculation based on the rumblings of who is standing out as well as just looking at the contracts themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×