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Skrine watches rookie Bills receiver T.J. Graham waltz into the end zone on a 9-yard TD pass play
There are a few reasons why the Browns defensive backfield has such a disproportionate amount of combined tackles vs. the line and the linebackers. For one, it's a "passing league" now, it is bordering on cliche, but there is truth to it. Teams aren't running the ball 30 plus times a game any longer.
Another reason is that the opposing team's running back has made it past the front lines. But a major reason why the defensive backfield has as many combined tackles as they do is simply because opposing receivers are getting open and making catches.
While it's true the Browns did not get at Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in this past week's loss, only one other team has been able to this season, and at that, only once. The Browns have otherwise been above average putting pressure on the quarterback this year; the bulk of the pass-defense failures falls on the shoulders of the defensive backs.
After the turnover fest that was the Eagles/Browns season opener, the Browns have allowed 2 straight 3 TD pass games and given up 500+ yards through the air.
The reasons are as simple as they are complex. One is obvious. They are currently without their top and one of the league's up and coming cornerbacks in Joe Haden (serving four-game suspension that started after Week 1, for violating the league's performance enhancing drug policy).
Filling in for Haden is sixth-year corner Dimitri Patterson. While Patterson is an adequate nickel/dime package defender, he struggles against the opposition's top receiver for an entire game.
To his right is Sheldon Brown, who is in his 11th year, and it shows. Brown has to play off the ball submitting to mid/short-range receptions. Once a top corner in the league, his skills have declined since joining the Browns and they haven't improved any with another year under his belt.
Behind the current starters are rookie Trevon Wade, who has seen limited action, and second-year man Buster Skrine, who, unfortunately for the Browns, has seen plenty of action.
While he proved impressive as a pass rusher on delayed blitzes against the Eagles, he's also shown that he has a propensity to give up the big play on passing downs.
Though the current quad of cornerbacks are suspect, the return of Haden in two games should immediately improve the group. The true problem lies just behind the cornerbacks.
Third-year strong safety T.J. Ward is an aggressive run stuffer and a can wreak havoc during safety blitzes, but his coverage skills are lacking at this point in his career. This weakness is magnified by play at the free safety position.
The Browns picked up free agent Usama Young last season, who struggled mightily in coverage. In a sort of head-scratching decision, the Browns opted to keep Young over the versatile Mike Adams, who left as an unrestricted free agent. While Adams is not the ultimate answer at the free safety position, he would have been a better option.
Behind Young is second-year free safety Eric Hagg, who saw action against the Bills, but is likewise a question mark at the position.
And addition of a veteran free safety would have been better served than keeping Young.