In 2021, the Cleveland Browns had a lot of negativity surrounding their team. However, one positive aspect that fans held onto was the development of their defense as the season progressed. This created high expectations for the Browns’ defense heading into 2022, with hopes that they would hit the ground running. Unfortunately, the defense did not live up to those expectations. Jadeveon Clowney struggled and John Johnson III requested to play a role that didn’t suit him, leading to communication issues and a lack of success. The defense became a major storyline and many believed that it let the Browns down.
To address their defensive shortcomings, the Cleveland Browns made a comprehensive upgrade to their defense in 2023. They brought in a new defensive coordinator and signed three big-name defensive linemen. They also acquired a true free safety, which was a position of need for the defense. The team put in a lot of work to solidify their defensive unit. Fans are excited about the additions of starting-caliber players like Zadarius Smith, Dalvin Tomlinson and Juan Thornhill. When these players are paired with the nucleus of successful draught picks like Denzel Ward and Myles Garrett, there is a lot to like about the new Browns defense. Martin Anderson showed promise in his first season as well.
The physicality of the new defense is evident, and there is a strong sense of depth in the safety room. The linebacker room, with Sione Takitaki and Anthony Walker, provides versatility and interchangeability. Owusu Koramoah is a talented player, although he may be more specialized in certain roles. The defense now has the ability to rotate and disguise their intentions pre-snap, which can create confusion for opposing offenses. Greg Newsom adds to the secondary and allows the Browns to switch between heavy formations and coverage depending on the situation. The combination of Zadarius Smith, Myles Garrett and Dalvin Tomlinson would be formidable.
One concern for the Browns is the depth at pass rusher. If any of the key players upfront were to suffer an injury, it remains to be seen if the depth would be able to step up and handle the pressure. However, with the overall improvements made to the defense, the Browns have taken significant steps toward addressing their defensive weaknesses and building a solid unit in 2023.