The Browns are back at practice this week to face the Houston Texans after finishing the first half 5-3. We have gone over the good and the bad of what took place during the first eight games. Now we get to the ugly. These must change in the second half of the season if the Browns want to make the playoffs.
Andrew Sendejo has played in 98 percent of the Browns snaps through the first eight games, and he has been downright awful. Like with B.J. Goodson, the coaching staff preaches that he is a veteran who knows the defense, bringing value. That just does not cut it when he gives up an 80 percent completion rate on 30 targets for 405 yards and four touchdowns. There is no way you can continue to justify keeping him on the field anywhere close to the amount he has already been on. If that does not prove it, there is more.
Sendejo currently sits at a 14 percent missed tackle rate with seven in those eight games. He currently ranks as third worst safety in the NFL per Pro Football Focus with a 41.5 overall grade. His coverage grade is the worst of his career combined with playing the most snaps of his career. Not the combo you need from your starting coverage safety. The Browns certainly miss Grant Delpit as he would have taken a lot of these snaps away from Sendejo.
Mack Wilson wants so badly to be good. Maybe he is still fighting the knee injury from camp or needs more time to develop. Right now, he is hurting the Browns and needs to see less playing time heading into the second half. Currently, Wilson has a missed tackle rate of 15 percent in just 166 snaps.
Last season Wilson had a 13.7 percent missed tackle rate in 944 snaps. He has not shown any improvement this season. Wilson also graded out as one of the bottom three players on the Browns via PFF, and he is easily the worst graded player this year at 29.1. That overall grade is good for third-worst in the NFL out of 86 qualifiers. Like Sendejo, the Browns cannot continue to place a liability like that on the field during a playoff race.
The Browns will get rookie Jacob Phillips back this week and might want to play veteran Malcolm Smith a bit more in these last eight games. It is not yet time to give up on unlocking the talent Mack Wilson has, but this team has a chance, and the best players need to be on the field.
The Browns Defense
We have gone over the two ugly players that have hurt this defense the most. The fact is that the entire defense has been awful through eight games. They are just one point off the pace to give up the most points in franchise history. Currently, they rank 26th in points allowed at 29.6 per game.
While the run game still sits high in the rankings, they gave up over 200 yards rushing when it mattered the most, letting the Raiders control the game two weeks ago. The pass defense has been atrocious all year and currently ranks 24th in yards allowed, which may not seem that bad except that they have also given up 17 touchdowns, which is also in the bottom ten. All in all, this defense has to improve in the second half for the Browns to have a legit chance at the playoffs.
While talent is certainly a question mark, it is up to defensive coordinator Joe Woods to figure something out. The playoffs are in reach, and right now, they are not good enough.
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