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Film review: Defense, Cowboys @ Browns

The second part of the film review focusing on the defense. You can read the review of the offense, here.

NT – I liked the game Jay Ratliff played. None of the Cowboys racked up a lot of tackles in the game because their offense controlled the clock. Ratliff had a couple of good tackles though on run defense, penetrated the line to disrupt a run and had a good pressure from the DE position - he got quite a few reps at that spot. He looked to be the most active player of the front three and the backups. Tank Johnson really didn’t have a lot to show for the game except a nice QB hit but he also picked up an offsides penalty. But in general, the Browns weren’t that successful sustaining the run so some credit goes to the guys up the middle.

DE – Well, not much from Marcus Spears in the game. He made one great stuff in the backfield and not much else. Chris Canty didn’t play that great, I saw him twice get blown off the line against the run and he never really got pressure on the QB. He batted a pass down but the play was negated by a penalty and picked up a couple of tackles. Jason Hatcher was invisible, a big disappointment. Stephen Bowen got one good tackle against the run.

While the front-six rotation didn’t get make a lot of dynamic plays, they did control the line of scrimmage pretty well. A solid game up front but no real highlights.

OLBDeMarcus Ware was actually one of the better players against the run in this game. He made some good tackles after fighting off blocks. He never generated much of a pass rush, Joe Thomas played a good game and they chipped Ware on occasion to slow him down. He did get a sack and a fumble on a speed rush at the end of the game. Greg Ellis’ role of knocking Winslow around and dropping into coverage has already been discussed. When Ellis didn’t bump Winslow, Kellen was much more successful. Ellis got one QB pressure on a stunt to the middle. But he missed a couple of key tackles in the running game that helped Jamal Lewis bust off a couple of long runs.

ILBBradie James was not the most active player out there on Sunday. He also missed a tackle on Lewis on a long run. He did have one nice fill of the hole but was largely absent from playmaking on the day. Zach Thomas played a pretty good game against the run but it was his blitzing skills that really paid off. Three different times he came on blitzes up the middle and got pressure on the QB forcing quick throws and incompletions. Kevin Burnett didn’t do a lot on defense except for one good penetration at the goal line but he did have three different plays on special teams coverage that stood out. Bobby Carpenter was largely absent from the proceedings.

CBAnthony Henry had more plays occur around him than almost anybody on the defense. He made a sweet tackle on a hitch pass, broke up passes twice on third down, and got pressure on a blitz but the Browns capitalized on the play anyway. On the negative side, he gave up a couple of pass completions, and had a miscommunication with Hamlin on the Winslow TD. He also looked like he was beat by Braylon Edwards deep on the ball that was dropped, but he had outside coverage and Hamlin was supposed to be inside coverage, but Hamlin let Edwards go and doubled the dig route underneath, leaving Henry exposed. Adam Jones was most notable for his pass interference call in the endzone and for muffing a punt. But he did break up a pass on third down and really didn’t get beat for much otherwise. Orlando Scandrick had a bad penalty to extend the Browns TD drive after they were stopped on third down and he whiffed on a tackle after giving up a completion. He redeemed himself with good coverage on a third down pass and not giving up a lot of receptions. I really never saw Mike Jenkins involved in a play; with corners that can be a good thing, I just don't know how many reps he got though.

S- Ken Hamlin cleaned up a lot of the catches in the secondary by making quick tackles and he also lowered the boom on a Browns WR causing an incompletion. But he had the two issues with Henry mentioned before, something they need to work on this week. Roy Williams was neither here nor there. He gave up two passes on the day to the TE’s for modest yards and really wasn’t involved in stopping the run. Pat Watkins and Courtney Brown never showed up on film making plays.


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