The Browns are still winless, following their 31-28 loss on Sunday to the New York Jets. Not much has gone right for the team over the course of the 2016 NFL season. Cleveland has gone through six quarterbacks, a revolving lineup on the offensive line and a defense unable to stop anybody. But, this week the Browns got some good news.
On Monday, the Browns traded a 2017 compensatory third round pick to the New England Patriots for linebacker Jamie Collins. Collins is in his fourth season in the NFL. So far this year in seven games with the Patriots, Collins has 43 tackles, one forced fumble, one sack, three passes defended and two interceptions. He was a NFL Pro Bowler in 2015.
So, what will Jamie Collins bring to the Cleveland Browns? In this week’s Browns film room, I will take a look at what the linebacker brings to the Browns defense, focusing on his skill set as a player.
The first thing you see in Jamie Collins’ game is his athleticism. At 6-foot-3, 250-pounds, Collins can run with tight ends, running backs and even receivers. He plays sideline to sideline and moves in space extremely well. Here is an example of his athleticism.
On the play, Jamie Collins is lined up as the weak side inside linebacker. The Dolphins are in a shotgun with a tight end lined up on the right end of the line. Miami runs a designed toss play with running back Jay Ajayi running to the left. Ajayi runs full speed to the left edge, but Collins shows off his quick reaction and great speed. Collins is able to chase Ajayi down from behind and make a tackle for a loss. This play shows his athleticism to play sideline to sideline and run with any offensive player.
When you watch Jamie Collins, one of first things you notice is his quick reaction and intelligence on the field. He can diagnose a play very quickly and immediately react to where the ball is going. He can read the quarterback in coverage and figure out where the play is going. Here is an example of his quick reaction and intelligence.
On the play, Jamie Collins is in zone coverage against the upcoming pass play by the Houston Texans. The Texans line up in a shotgun with three receivers out wide, a tight end standing up on the right side of the line and a running back in the backfield. Collins reads the quarterback’s eyes throughout the play, staying back to cover anyone coming across the field. But, when he sees the quarterback’s eyes go down to the flat, where running back Lamar Miller is leaking out with no one in the vicinity.
Before quarterback Brock Osweiler even passes it to Miller in the flat, Collins is already making a move to Miller. He gets to the running back almost immediately after the catch, limiting the Texans to just a short gain. He read the quarterback and quickly reacted to stop the play from being a success.
What makes Jamie Collins extremely valuable is ability to play in coverage. He has the ability to play man to man, using his athleticism and technique to cover almost any offensive player. He also can play in zone coverage, using his athleticism, intelligence and quick reaction. Here is an example of Collins coverage ability.
On the play, Jamie Collins is lined up to cover the tight end in slot. He starts the play focusing on tight end running down the seam. But, Collins changes his focus toward the eyes of Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler. Collins sees Osweiler eying down receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who starting to cross the field behind him. Collins leaves the tight end and undercuts Hopkins to pick off the pass. Collins times it beautifully, intercepting the pass and running it back for a nice return. His coverage ability is a really big strength for him.
Pass Rush Ability
One of the more underrated parts of Jamie Collins’ game is his pass rush ability. In his career, Collins has a total of 10.5 sacks. That may not seem like a lot, but for an inside linebacker, who is called upon to play in coverage often, this total is really good. Here is an example of Collins’ ability to rush the passer.
On the play, Jamie Collins is lined up on the left side of the line. He is called upon to rush the passer against the now former Jacksonville Jaguar left guard Zane Beadles. Collins uses his athleticism to completely fool the guard and get to the backfield. Collins does a quick stutter step that gets Beadles off balance, allowing Collins to use his speed to get past the offensive lineman and into the backfield. He finishes the play by making an acrobatic dive at the quarterback, striping quarterback Blake Bortles for a fumble. When called upon, Collins can really wreck havoc as a pass rusher.
Highlight of the Game
The highlight of the game versus the New York Jets was the Browns first half performance. The Browns led the Jets at the half 20-7, putting together one of their best halfs of football of the season. Cleveland outgained the Jets 274 yards to just 106 yards. The offense was able to move the ball well, especially through the air. On defense, the Browns held the Jets to four three-and-outs. It was a quality half of football.
Lowlight of the Game
The lowlight of the game versus the New York Jets was the second half collapse and another week without a win this season. The Browns surrendered their 20-7 lead pretty quickly, allowing 14 points in the third quarter to trail the New York Jets 21-20 at end of the quarter. The Jets outgained the Browns 287 yards to 133 yards in the second half. The Browns were outscored 24-8 in the half. It was a bad way to finish off a game.