The Cleveland Browns had yet another underwhelming, lost season as they went 6-10. The season led to massive changes within the organization including at head coach and general manager. The Browns addressed their coaching position with the hiring of Kevin Stefanski and their general manager position with Andrew Berry, but there are a lot of things left to do this offseason. I have examined each of the team’s offensive position’s to-do list this offseason. We continue on the defensive side of the ball in this series to look at the cornerback position.
The Browns cornerback position had a weird 2019 season. That is the best way I can explain it. Quite frankly, the unit never seemed comfortable in Steve Wilks’ defense. Denzel Ward had a rough start to the season with poor play and an injury, but he played better later in the season. It was the exact opposite for Greedy Williams. The rookie started off well, but by the end of the season, opposing teams were picking on him throughout each game. Terrance Mitchell was solid when he stepped into the lineup due to the injuries to the starters, Williams and Ward. But, Mitchell saw his snap count greatly diminished once those two came back. T.J. Carrie was the slot corner for the Browns, but he did not play well this season. The unit overall was just a mixed bag of fluidity in terms of playing time and performance level.
1. Implement Joe Woods’ defense
The Browns will be implementing a new defensive system under new defensive coordinator Joe Woods. Cleveland will be installing a completely new system after the one in Steve Wilks’ system. Last season, the players seemed to never become comfortable in the defensive scheme. So, this offseason, it will be paramount for the coaches to install the system and for the players to fully become familiar and comfortable within this new scheme.
2. Run a system to the players’ strengths
In implementing Joe Woods’ new system, there needs to be one important caveat to the scheme. It must fit the players’ strengths, especially the cornerback unit. As I pointed out earlier, the cornerbacks last season never were comfortable in Wilks’ defense and the scheme did not fit their strengths as players. The No. 1 thing this defense must be is one that fits the personnel.
3. Coach up Greedy Williams
Williams had a rough rookie season, especially as the season wore on. He needs this offseason to develop his technique. Williams struggled with consistency in terms of technique. He would be often not looking for the ball and getting beat because he had his back towards the ball. That was just one of a few things he needs to work on this offseason. Heading into his second NFL season, Williams has the talent to be a really good cover corner, but he just needs more refining.
4. Release T.J. Carrie
Even though I really like Carrie as a teammate and a person, his contract is cumbersome. His production last season just does not match up to what the Browns are paying him. The Browns can release Carrie and get a cap-savings move in the process. Cleveland cannot pay an underperforming third or fourth string corner $8.5 million. The Browns can get cheaper and better options to fill this roster spot on the depth chart.
5. Add a slot corner
With Carrie released, the Browns need to target a slot corner. There are a few free-agent corners on the market that fit this need like Chris Harris and Logan Ryan, but those two may be above the Browns price range they want to spend on a slot corner. Brian Poole may be a cheaper option in free agency. The draft, though, is pretty deep in corners this year, so the team could go that route to find their slot corner.