Browns Defense: Cover-2, Year 2

Can a team which is committed to playing a Cover-2 defense improve itself against the run? With the images of the team's lackluster run defense (see photo) still fresh in the minds of Browns fans, what hope do the Browns have of making dramatic improvement? Here are TheInsiders with their thoughts...

Can a team that plays the Cover-2 defense win a championship if it doesn't have Warren Sapp and the league's most ferocious defensive line?

The Browns will join a lot of other teams in testing that theory this year.

Last season when the team brought in Dave Campo as defensive coordinator, it went exclusively with the Cover-2.

It's a defense that Minnesota coach Mike Tice said he hates because he doesn't think defenses can consistently stop the run playing Cover-2.

It's a sit-back-and-don't-give-up-the-big-play scheme, a scheme that relies on the front four for pressure and the middle linebacker to patrol a big part of the field.

It's also a defense that produces no answers if things aren't going well.

Witness the team's complete inability to stop Jamal Lewis last season. In two games he ran for 500 yards against the Browns.

The Browns' rallying cry in the offseason was to improve against the run, and they had to improve the tackling at safety.
Which seems to beg the question: By the time a back gets to the safety, isn't it almost too late?

The Browns are backing on growth in the system providing some of the answers as it tries to turn around a 5-11 team.


  • Fans have been disappointed with the play of Gerard Warren, the third overall pick in Butch Davis' first draft. Warren has at times been overweight and lethargic, but the coaches insist that at other times he has done things that have not been noticed.
  • The Browns spent the offseason bringing in new people to play at Earl Little's safety spot. They never succeeded until draft day when they took Sean Jones in round two. Jones' torn ACL, though, means the team again will have to rely on Little, who seemed to be the scapegoat for the defensive struggles against the run in 2003.
  • QUOTE TO NOTE: "I told the players that going into the fourth year (of Davis' tenure in Cleveland), this is clearly the furthest along we've been through minicamp. In more ways than one, the chemistry, the electricity the feelings for each other, the way the veterans worked -- they set an unbelievable practice picture for all the young incoming guys." -- Coach Butch Davis at the conclusion of the team's offseason minicamp.

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