Exploring how the Browns can take advantage of the Seahawks

This Sunday the Cleveland Browns will face the Seattle Seahawks. To explore some topics from the Seahawks’ perspective, we reached out to Field Gulls’ John Gilbert and exchanged five questions with him.

Chris: “Seattle seems to be playing good defense. What has improved on that side of the ball from a season ago?”

John: “The change in defensive performance is the result of a series of smaller changes that came together in a way that allowed the group to achieve success.

Specifically, the plan was adjusted and then they changed personnel, both on the defensive front than on the secondary one.

As far as the scheme goes, they made some changes to how the defensive front plays and changed the personnel packages they were using.

These changes have helped, but their contribution to improvement probably pales in comparison to the personnel changes.

The biggest personnel change was the replacement of starter Cody Barton with future Hall of Famer Bobby Wagner.

Yes, Wagner is getting older and has lost a step and is no longer the same player he was a decade ago when the Seahawks destroyed the Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII.

However, he has made a huge improvement over running and that improvement is reflected in his running stats.

When it comes to the secondary, it’s been a nice change to see the team play with much thinner coverage than in recent seasons.

Also, they changed the type of player used in the slot. In recent seasons they’ve had guys like Ugo Amadi or Coby Bryant, who aren’t the type of athletes who typically find success playing slot coverage.

This season they faced Devon Witherspoon, Jamal Adams and Julian Love at different times depending on the situation, and the results were much better than in previous seasons.”

Chris: “The Seahawks are coming off a win against the Lions, and they can’t do without whoever is in their program, but they faced three of the worst teams in the NFL (Arizona, Carolina,

New York Giants). Does this make fans fear that Seattle hasn’t been tested that much yet?

John: “The fact that the Seahawks have won 67% of their games against a group of opponents that have combined to win 35% of their games is something that some fans have definitely noticed.

As you can see, you are playing according to the schedule imposed by the league, but there are definitely those who are worried about the quality of the team due to the lack of high-level competition so far this season.

With that in mind, this is the part of the schedule where we will see the Hawks face tougher competition in the coming weeks, with the Browns and Ravens.

The real heart of the schedule that will determine the outcome of the season will begin on Thanksgiving, when they face the 49ers twice, along with the Cowboys and Eagles in a four-game stretch.

John: “This season has been so difficult health-wise that I’m tempted to joke that the biggest strength of the offensive line missed time due to injury.

In fact, as every position along the way has seen the Week 1 starter miss time for health reasons, the biggest strength has been the flexibility to play at a competent level despite constantly changing personnel.

The offensive line entered the season as one of the youngest and least experienced offensive lines in the league, and that was before injuries plagued the group.

And yet, despite the fact that rookies and other freshmen played far more snaps than expected early in the season, the group played well enough to allow the team to go 4-2 heading into the game against the Browns.

With that in mind, they have certainly struggled to defend certain passing situations, which has led to a lot of offensive issues at times so far this season.

Specifically, in the three games where the offense was successful in guarding Geno Smith and he was pressured on less than 40% of his dropbacks, the offense scored an average of 29 points per game.

In the three games where Geno was pressured on more than 40% of his dropbacks, the offense averaged just 14.3 points.

Chris: “Tell us about a player that Browns fans may not have heard of but could have an impact on Sunday’s game. »

John: “Most fans probably know the names of the talented players on offense and the key names on defense, but it’s the inexperienced offensive players tasked with protecting Geno Smith that Browns fans may not know about.

On the offensive line in particular, three first-year starters in Olu Oluwatimi, Anthony Bradford and Stone Forsythe could be used at center, defense and in the secondary, depending on the health concerns of Evan Brown, Phil Haynes and Jake Curhan.

Chris: “The Browns are early underdogs against the Seahawks on Sunday (Browns +4 at the time of this question, according to DraftKings Sportsbook). Who would you vote for against the spread?

John: “My first reaction is that since the Browns will be using PJ Walker at quarterback, the fans should crush the Seahawks to cover the spread in this game.

However, this is the Seahawks, and they have a long history of struggling against backup quarterbacks expected to stop them, so there is some concern, especially given the strength of the Browns defense. Even if I want to say yes, I’ll take the Browns as my cover here. »

Thanks again to Chris for taking the time to answer my questions.

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