Grading the Browns With PFF

Every week, Pro Football Focus communicates directly with the Orange and Brown Report on the key stats and advanced football metrics of the Cleveland Browns.

The OBR having a direct link to information from Pro Football Focus is perfect for this writer. I love information. While I don't believe anything is the be all end all of information or evaluation, I've always valued PFF's way of doing things.

So what do we have in advance of tomorrow's Week 7 game? Here will be thoughts from PFF and some thoughts from me on each:

PFF - DeMario Davis had the highest defensive grade for the Browns on Sunday with a 89.3 overall grade. This was largely due to his pass coverage. He was thrown at twice and gave up one reception for 21 yards and had a pass defense.

OBR - Davis was brought in to be a thumper. While his high grade is nice to see, as one of our few free agent signings, but his ability in coverage is suspect at best. If he can show improvement in pass coverage, the Browns can be more settled playing him 3 downs.

PFF - Danny Shelton is showing that his second half surge last season is no fluke. He had the second highest Browns defensive grade on Sunday and was excellent in run defense. It seems that this first round pick is one Browns fans can hang their hat on.

OBR - This is where PFF grades and the eye ball test seem to match-up. Shelton is playing with better leverage, bend which has allowed his naturally strength to be used instead of him being stood up and moved out of the way easily. If Shelton can continue to grow and develop, the Browns will have an unmistakable force in the middle of their defense.

PFF - Whoever the Browns decided to throw out on the edges none of them could make a positive impact in the game. Carl Nassib, Tyrone Holmes, Emmanuel Ogbah, Cam Johnson, Corey Lemonier & Joe Schobert all saw significant time. None of them received a grade higher than 47.8. These six defenders had 6/10 worst grades for all Brown defenders.

OBR - Again, grade and eye say the same thing: The Browns have not been able to get a pass rush. The issues for each is different. We see the talent of Nassib, Holmes and Ogbah. They have struggled to be consistent in their roles, as their roles have struggled being consistent as well. Schobert doesn't have the length on the outside and hasn't developed the moves to counter his physical limits. Johnson was cut by the Browns earlier and Lemonier couldn't make the 49ers terrible defense, not exactly impressive.

PFF - Kessler had a solid game on Sunday, earning the second best grade for all Browns offensive players with a 76.3 grade. One area where he did surprisingly well for a young QB was his play under pressure. When he was under pressure his QB Rating was 99.5 and when he was blitzed his QB rating jumped to 124.7

PFF - Rookie QB Cody Kessler continues to surprise as he shows solid accuracy. His completion percentage wasn't helped by his receivers as there were two drops on the day but he also had two throwaways and a batted pass giving Kessler an adjusted completion percentage of 73.7 while he boasts an impressive 78.7% for the season that ranks 6th in the NFL.

OBR - While more and more people are excited, and some even sold, on Kessler, I am not there yet. The positives are clear, as PFF notes, when he is dealing with pressure and his accuracy has continued to impress. If he can continue to make plays under pressure and have good accuracy, his perceived lack of dynamic ability and arm strength won't matter much. He has a long way to go to prove that he is "The Guy" but he is winning people over and these type of grades can be helpful.

PFF - Cam Erving had another bad day at C for the Browns and it is time to be concerned. He struggled mightily at the guard positions last year and the Browns hoped the move to C, where he played in college would help. It has not this season though. He was the worst graded Browns offensive player on Sunday and in only three games is the worst graded Browns offensive player this season.

PFF - After missing the past three games, C Cam Erving picked up right where he left off, by grading as the worst center in the NFL.  Erving struggled in the run game and in pass protection as he was beat on numerous occasions and allowed a sack and two quick pressures.  His season grade of 38.3 ranks 34th of 34 qualifying centers.

OBR - We all agree that he has been pretty terrible. He is far worse in pass protection than in the run game but overall he has struggled greatly. The Browns believe a ton in their coaching but even they may not be able to make Erving a quality starting offensive lineman.

PFF - WR Terrelle Pryor is making a position switch look seamless as he shows smoothness in his routes and great hands and body control on difficult catches.  Browns QBs boast a 91.3 passer rating when targeting Pryor this season and the former Ohio State QB has just 1 drop on 34 catchable targets giving him a drop rate of 2.94, a figure that would have ranked him 5th in the NFL in 2015.

OBR - Pryor has continued to impress pretty much everyone. Becoming a solid to great WR at this stage in the game is miraculous to say the least. When Corey Coleman returns, it will be interesting how Pryor's usage and production changes.

PFF - The depleted offensive line is showing it's woes in the run game as just RT Austin Pasztor had a slightly positive grade in that category.  HBs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson gained all but 4 of their yards after contact as the OL struggled to get any push on the Titans front seven. Crow's impressive start to the season seems a distant past but he still boasts an impressive 3.55 yards per carry after contact for the season, a mark that ranks 4th in the NFL.

OBR - Pasztor hangs his hat on his run blocking but the Browns overall blocking has been bad the last two weeks. The Pats and Titans figured out how to attack the team to keep Crow and Duke from succeeding. With Joel Bitonio out, the Browns have to figure out how to scheme around the struggles of their line to get the run game going and to protect Kessler.

PFF - The Browns have had several coverage busts and wide open receivers beat them deep but CB Jamar Taylor has not been the culprit for any of those problems.  Despite allowing his second TD of the season, Taylor held his WR in check allowing just 3 catches for 25 yards and added a pass defense.  Taylor continues to impress each game and now ranks 15th overall for the season as he has two INTs and two PDs and 285 yards when targeted this season but just 116 the past three games.

OBR - While the focus for many fans is the need for a QB or someone to rush the passer, the secondary has been terrible. Taylor is the best of the worst and has shown some signs of figuring things out. If the Browns bring in a top flight corner, either in the draft or somehow in free agency, the combination of Haden and Taylor can create a very good set of three. Right now, pass defense is not good but finding a positive in Taylor is nice.

PFF - If S Ibraheim Campbell could stay healthy, the Browns have a second year DB playing well they could rely on.  Despite his woes in coverage against New England, Campbell is the highest graded safety for the Browns and ranks 5th in the NFL in run defense as he shows an impressive knack for filling gaps and hitting his run fits.  He's missed just 1 tackle this season compared to 6 from rookie Derrick Kindred.

OBR - While many liked Kindred for his big hitting abilities, his coverage skills are less than adequate. Campbell has shown a much better ability to play in coverage, even as a strong safety. While the Browns need a corner, finding a Free Safety to play next to Campbell will also help greatly in coverage. Kindred could develop in time but his coverage skills are a big concern.


Looking at the Browns through both my eyes and the eyes of PFF makes for some interesting results. Little if any disagreement here but what about from you?

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