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The Browns simply don't have a difference maker at the linebacker position. D'Qwell Jackson has proven himself as a great facilitator. With 69 tackles, he is once again on pace for over 100 this year.
His support cast around him, however, have been a consistent disappointment.
The linebackers are responsible for 205 of the Browns 669 tackles this year. Subtracting Jackson's 69, a combined five players are responsible for the other 136 tackles for an average of 27 a piece.
Consider that rookie Craig Robertson has 50 and that throws things off even more.
Of the team's 20 sacks, only six have come from linebackers. Three of those are D'Qwell Jackson's. Scott Fujita most likely will not be back in 2013, Chris Gocong probably shouldn't be.
This is a unit that is in dire need of an identity. They need someone who can consistently make plays at one of the outside linebacker positions.
The failure to stop the run appears to be a team effort, or lack there of, and opponents seem to be aware of this. They rush the ball an average of 30.9 times a game—fifth most in the league.
Opponents probably do this because the run defense gives up 132.8 yards per game on the ground. That number is good for 27th in the league. Does the defensive line share some of the blame for not getting the initial push to allow the linebackers to get in on the ball? In many cases, sure.
It should be noted that the defensive tackle position has been a merry-go-round of starters due to injury. It started with Phil Taylor, who blew out a pec. This forced a rookie rotation of Billy Winn and John Hughes to fill in.
Now Ahtyba Rubin has missed time with a calf injury.
But it is clear, by the numbers, that the linebacking core has had a great share of the blame.