Bruising Browns: Pettine’s defense aggressive as advertised
DETROIT — Mike Pettine said the Browns would be an attacking, aggressive defense.
If the first half of the first preseason game is any indication, Pettine looks to be true to his word.
In three series, the starting defense allowed just three points, despite dropping a 13-12 decision in the preseason opener as the Lions scored with just 1:05 to play in front of 51,384 fans at Ford Field.
On the first series of the game, the defense started near mid-field as kick returner Jeremy Ross opened the game with a 49-yard return. A quick pass to Golden Tate for 14 yards and a run by Joique Bell for 11 yards moved the Lions to the 22 before the defense forced a 48-yard field goal. The field goal was the only points the first team defense allowed in their three series in the game.
However, on the third-and-8 before the field goal, the Browns sent cornerback Isaiah Trufant and safety Jordan Poyer on a double blitz and Matthew Stafford had to unload the ball for an incomplete pass.
In the next two series for the starters, the Browns showed multiple looks with Jabaal Sheard, Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo on the field together on several occasions.
On the second series, Mingo and Armonty Bryant put pressure on quarterback Dan Orlovsky and sacked him for a nine-yard loss. The defense allowed one first down before forcing a punt.
On the final series the starters were in, they forced a three-and-out before a punt. A key play was Phil Taylor and Kruger pressuring Orlovsky into an incomplete pass.
"It felt good," Dansby said. "We held them to three points. It was 3-0. We did what we had to do to get off the field. We executed and trusted one another. Everybody was on the same page."
Donte Whitner agreed with Dansby’s assessment.
"We did pretty well," Whitner said. "I feel like we ran to the football and we didn’t make mental errors. We tackled pretty well. We’ve just got off the field on third down. That’s something that’s correctable."
Typically, defenses are vanilla in the beginning of the preseason, but Pettine and defensive coordinator Jim O’Oneil showed blitz packages in the scrimmage last week and came out going after the quarterback in the preseason opener.
Overall, Pettine wasn’t happy with the tackling by defense.
"Defensively, I’m not real pleased with the tackling," he said. "I would say that’s our biggest issue so far. Our guys are flying around, but that’s something that we’ve got to get cleaned up."
The Browns reserves turned the ball over twice. Linebacker Justin Staples recovered a fumble and defensive lineman Cam Henderson ended a drive inside the Browns’ 10 with a fumble recovery. A third turnover–interception by Leon McFadden–was negated by a defensive holding penalty.