By: Jeff Risdon | February 19, 2019 9:05 am ET 2 minutes
The 2018 Cleveland Browns improved in so many facets of playing football, but there were still some dark spots on the resume. The biggest negative, even worse than placekicking or defending the pass against tight ends (though that was wretched too), was the tackling by the Browns defense.
From Briean Boddy-Calhoun whiffing on a potential critical TFL in the late loss to Baltimore, to Joe Schobert getting blasted by Marshawn Lynch in the hole in the loss to the lowly Raiders, to T.J. Carrie forgetting to wrap and allowing a key first down YAC in the early close loss to the Saints, bad tackling cost the Browns in the win column.
Pro Football Focus put some analytical context to the poor tackling. Cleveland graded out dead last among the 32 NFL teams with a score of just 34.8. The next-worst team was San Francisco, a full 9 points higher. Those were the only teams scoring below 50 in the PFF grading metrics.
Even the best players miss tackles here and there, but the rate at which so many Browns defenders failed at such a fundamental task is alarming. It will be interesting to see if new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks places more of a concerted emphasis on proper form and positioning compared to predecessor Gregg Williams, who loved the big hits but didn’t preach wrapping or positional discipline well. brownswire.usatoday.com