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Following a disappointing defeat against the Chicago Bears, the Cleveland Browns are now just one loss away from becoming the second 0-16 team in NFL history. Rather than the normal Browns notes, I decided to try out doing a mailbag and allow fans to send in questions in several of the Browns fan groups. I’ll answer a few and if this is successful, I could turn this into a weekly thing. So start off the mailbag and see how it goes.
Q: “Is Gregg Williams getting a free pass? Should he be held accountable just like Hue [Jackson]? If one gets a pass for talent shouldn’t they both?” – Justen M, Parts Unknown
A: Hey Justen, I wouldn’t say Williams is getting a free pass necessarily. He took the defense from last in the league overall in 2016-17 to 12th overall this year. However, fans all year have pointed out the flaws in Williams defense, such as playing one safety too far back to make a difference, which it’s usually Jabrill Peppers. Also, it’s the fact that he didn’t have the cornerbacks to cover the types of receivers there are in the AFC North. While he should be held accountable, the problem with giving him the same amount of blame as head coach Hue Jackson is not efficient.
As weird as it sounds, the defense has played much more efficiently than the offense. You just can’t see it because the offense doesn’t stay on the field long enough to allow the defense to rest due to the several three and outs and turnovers via mainly interceptions. Neither should get a pass due to talent, it’s about how you use the talent you have now. Williams has shown a better understanding of it as rise in rank shows and the rise of a pro bowl alternate that will play in the game, linebacker Joe Schobert.
To recap: I don’t believe Williams is getting a “free pass”, he should be held accountable and nobody should get a pass in anyway.
Q: “What do the Browns do with Jabrill Peppers? Is he more of a strong safety and should we draft early for a safety?” – Max W, Delphos, OH
A: Hey Max, I believe that Peppers is better suited for the strong safety role. Strong safeties are often considered to be more of linebackers with the speed of a safety and as such, they are more tuned into playing against the run. This is exactly what Peppers did while playing at the University of Michigan where he excelled. When given the opportunity to make plays, you saw that Peppers could make the hit and the play on the running back. Free safeties are considered to be the last resort as they sit back and watch for where they’re needed. Peppers has the speed to do so but his experience would lend better to playing more strong safety.
As for drafting early, that’s become a trend in recent years. If Cleveland drafts a quarterback first overall, depending on who’s taken, the Browns could ultimately take a safety. I’d watch for either Florida State Seminoles’ safety Derwin James or Alabama Crimson Tide’s defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick if they go first round. If later in the draft, maybe go with Texas A&M Aggies’ Armani Watts, Pittsburgh Panthers’ Jordan Whitehead or Penn State Nittany Lions’ Marcus Allen. I’d also keep an eye out on free agency as the Los Angeles Rams’ LaMarcus Joyner, Miami Dolphins’ Nate Allen and Seattle Seahawks’ Bradley McDougald are all set to hit the market.
Q: “If you had your picks of OC (Offensive coordinator) who would be your dream hire with in mind of our #1 and #4 picks? “ – Shane Z, Sandusky, OH
A: Hey Shane, with the picks the Browns have in mind, my dream hire is still Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator. Kubiak has been able to turn the Baltimore Ravens into an offensive threat, as well as made the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans into playoff teams, and even gotten a super bowl.
Q: “Do you think Dorsey will try and get Alex Smith as QB?” – Dorothy, Parts Unknown
A: If Dorsey can get him for the right price and looking at Smith’s contract situation, he may have an opt out clause after this season but again, it could happen if for the right price. I see Dorsey drafting a quarterback, whether it’s Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, etc. I also see him acquiring a veteran such as Smith, Sam Bradford, or Carson Palmer.
I thank everyone for sending in questions and I hope to see everybody next time!