As the off-season trudges on, teams are beginning to take shape before the eyes of fans. In truth, the Cleveland Browns are actually one of 2017’s most interesting teams. Beneath a 1-15 2016 record, a forgettable quarterback room, and endless “Browns jokes” lies potential: lots and lots of untapped potential. But perhaps the one area in which the Browns still need desperate help is the secondary. Over the past three seasons, the Cleveland Browns secondary has gone from pretty good, to “meh,” to downright abysmal. So, what can they do to improve their defensive woes? Let’s take a look at five major steps.
NOTE: This article is part of a series. If you missed the last part, be sure to check it out.
Five Steps to Improving the Cleveland Browns Secondary
1. Helping Joe Haden
It’s no secret that Joe Haden has been on a decline lately. Whether or not he’s on the decline remains to be seen, but the fact still stands. So, the Browns can take two options here. First off, they can get him some serious help. Maybe that’s what they were planning to do with Howard Wilson, but more on him later. Either way, if they plan on keeping Haden, they need to be able to improve what’s around him.
On the other hand, they could deal Joe Haden for either another player or, of course, a draft pick. It’s way too early to tell, but FSU’s Derwin James looks promising. With all that he’s done, Sashi Brown is probably loving the idea of even more new prospects. In any case, something is definitely going to happen in the way of Joe Haden this season.
2. Build the Front Line
In building the front seven, the Browns will start to also improve their front seven. With pieces like Jamie Collins and Myles Garrett in place, the Browns are already on their way. In fact, their defensive front is quickly becoming their strong suit. So, what does this mean for their secondary? Well, in short, it takes the pressure off of them in a big way. If the front seven can cover (pun intended) for the secondary at times, they should start to work in harmony. If that happens, offenses around the league should probably watch out.
3. Get the Offense Going
Speaking of offenses, there’s another roundabout way to get the Cleveland Browns secondary on track. If the best offense is a good defense, surely the best defense is a good offense. If Cody Kessler (or whatever quarterback the Browns use in 2017) can keep the offense on the field, that will absolutely help the secondary. Not only does the defense get their rest, but scoring points will take even more pressure off of them. A well-running offense can only be a good thing, especially for a defensive secondary.
4. Developing Young Talent
Contrary to popular opinion, the Browns do have some young talent on their defensive roster. Are they world-beaters? Probably not, but that could be because the coaching staff hasn’t developed them yet. And that development is crucial to helping out the Browns secondary. With players like Briean Boddy-Calhoun and the aforementioned Howard Wilson, these young Browns have potential. The Browns were the youngest team in the NFL last year, and their inexperience showed. In coming seasons, however, their development could be crucial to their eventual improvement.
This one is simple. If the Browns really want to improve their defensive secondary, they should be clinging to Gregg Williams for dear life. In truth, he is their saving grace in this situation. Williams is a great defensive coach, and he knows exactly how to get things done and improve his players. Normally under Williams, defensive players play out of their minds, and much better than they probably should. With all things considered, that’s exactly what the Browns need.