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Speaking of lacking a good pass rush, that is just one of the flaws of the defensive front seven in Celveland
Middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson is the unquestioned field general of Dick Jauron's unit. He is asked to do a lot, and he certainly delivered in his first year in the new 4-3 scheme, leading the AFC in tackles in 2011.
Thanks to a number of factors, Jackson's role will expand even more in 2012.
Inexperience surrounds Jackson, and his fellow Week 1 starters at linebacker have a combined zero NFL starts.
Kaluka Maiava and rookie fourth-round pick James Michael-Johnson were slated to start at weakside and strongside linebacker, respectively. However, Johnson went down with a hamstring injury in the preseason finale against the Chicago Bears.
Stepping in for Johnson will be a choice of three undrafted rookies. Tank Carder, who was claimed off of waivers from the Buffalo Bills just last week, is in the mix. Also competing are 53-man survivors L.J. Fort and Craig Robertson.
Veteran Joe Thomas is impressed by the progress of second-year defensive end Jabaal Sheard, as he told Cleveland Plain Dealer beat writer Tom Reed:
"He's definitely got a lot more confidence and he's more stout against the run. It's going to be fun to watch him in his second season. I think he has a lot more potential and the sky is the limit."
After an eight-sack rookie season, Sheard is going to be counted on to get the job done. Who else can pressure the quarterback, though?
That's a question the Browns definitely need to answer, with a combination of free agent acquisitions Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker.
Ahyta Rubin anchors the big men at defensive tackle. He will have to force John Hughes and Billy Winn to learn to thrive on the fly.
Judging from the current roster, a lot has to go right for the defense to substantially improve against the run and in pressuring the quarterback.
If Cleveland somehow pulls all of this off with such inferior personnel to their divisional counterparts, it may be considered a minor miracle.
In order to win and win consistently this season, it must happen.