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Thread: Linebackers!

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    Default Linebackers!

    http://www.cleveland.com/browns/inde...nsby_aims.html

    Linebacker Karlos Dansby aims to be more properly aligned in Cleveland Browns' defense
    By Tom Reed, Northeast Ohio Media Group
    on July 13, 2015 at 12:46 PM, updated July 14, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    BEREA, Ohio – Experience and instinct have made Karlos Dansby one of the more productive inside linebackers in the game.

    Now, if he could just figure out where to line up.

    As crazy as it might sound, the 12-year NFL veteran admittedly had alignment issues during his first season with the Browns. It's a facet of his game he's worked to correct in the offseason as the club attempts to improve its league-worst run defense from 2014.

    Dansby, 33, has huddled with coaches and watched film to ensure he's where he's expected to be pre-snap. The veteran, who overall made a strong contribution last year, believes a second season in the same scheme will make a big difference.

    "The way we played our defense was totally different than anything I had played before," said Dansby, the league's ninth-ranked inside linebacker in 2014, according to ProFootballFocus.com. "The alignment issues, that's on me. That's something I can get better at . . . It will help everyone else if I am lined up correctly."

    Stopping the run has been the primary focus for a defense that allowed 141.6 yards per game a season ago. The Browns used their first draft choice, No. 12 overall, on nose guard Danny Shelton, and added defensive linemen Xavier Cooper in the third round and veteran Randy Starks in free agency.

    Beyond personnel moves, defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil identified three primary culprits for a run defense yielding eight yards or more on 17.4 percent of opponents' rush attempts last season. They are: missed tackles, an inability to shed blocks and improper alignment.

    Dansby, acquired from the Cardinals via free agency in 2014, was hardly the only one guilty of misalignment and he made more plays than he missed. His coverage skills helped the Browns evolve into one of the league's top teams against the pass.

    Still, Dansby is a unit leader and coach Mike Pettine said it's important for the inside linebacker to understand how a step or two in any direction can make a difference between stuffing a run or watching it go for a big gain. Especially in a division that featured three of the NFL's eight leading rushers from 2014 – LeVeon Bell (Steelers), Jeremy Hill (Bengals) and Justin Forsett (Ravens).

    "I think the big part for him this offseason was really to get back and to study the tape from last year," Pettine said when asked if Dansby had to be stouter against the run. "I think some of the issues we had were simpler things, more alignment. That's been a big point of emphasis with him this offseason is his alignments within the defenses, kind of knowing where his help was and if he could overplay one side or the other. I think that just comes with time.

    "I think he's done a real good job understanding. I know that's been a big part overall defensively. We went back and looked at last year. We kind of gave up some things based on how we lined up. We want to make sure we get those things cleaned up."

    O'Neil said one of Dansby's great attributes, his instincts, occasionally can work against him. The linebacker uses his years of experience to diagnose plays at the line and shut them down. His key sack of Drew Brees in the Browns' comeback win against the Saints – Dansby recognized the protection call – is a prime example.

    If the linebacker guesses wrong, however, he can leave the defense exposed and vulnerable.

    "With Karlos, he's so instinctual and he makes a lot of plays because he does such a great job gathering pre-snap information or listening and learning as the game is going on to what the quarterback is saying or what the offensive line is saying," O'Neil said. "I would say 80 percent of the time it ends up being a positive, and then because of that, it ends up hurting us at times.

    "As long as he continues to make more plays than he's giving up, you're OK with it, and he did last year. There were times that it did hurt us, and showing them those clips and explaining it to him and then just him being in year two is really going to help him. He had a phenomenal year for us, and that wasn't the reason we struggled in the run game – because of Karlos Dansby's alignments – but it was just one of the things that we needed to get better at."

    Dansby was lauded for his leadership and willingness to hold teammates accountable last season. Acknowledging his need for improvement is the latest example of it.

    "I've got to be better with my alignment if our defense is going to get better," he said. "Without a doubt."

    ###
    Last edited by KJP; 07-14-2015 at 10:16 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJP View Post
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    http://www.cleveland.com/browns/inde...nsby_aims.html

    Linebacker Karlos Dansby aims to be more properly aligned in Cleveland Browns' defense
    By Tom Reed, Northeast Ohio Media Group
    on July 13, 2015 at 12:46 PM, updated July 14, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    BEREA, Ohio – Experience and instinct have made Karlos Dansby one of the more productive inside linebackers in the game.

    Now, if he could just figure out where to line up.

    As crazy as it might sound, the 12-year NFL veteran admittedly had alignment issues during his first season with the Browns. It's a facet of his game he's worked to correct in the offseason as the club attempts to improve its league-worst run defense from 2014.

    Dansby, 33, has huddled with coaches and watched film to ensure he's where he's expected to be pre-snap. The veteran, who overall made a strong contribution last year, believes a second season in the same scheme will make a big difference.

    "The way we played our defense was totally different than anything I had played before," said Dansby, the league's ninth-ranked inside linebacker in 2014, according to ProFootballFocus.com. "The alignment issues, that's on me. That's something I can get better at . . . It will help everyone else if I am lined up correctly."

    Stopping the run has been the primary focus for a defense that allowed 141.6 yards per game a season ago. The Browns used their first draft choice, No. 12 overall, on nose guard Danny Shelton, and added defensive linemen Xavier Cooper in the third round and veteran Randy Starks in free agency.

    Beyond personnel moves, defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil identified three primary culprits for a run defense yielding eight yards or more on 17.4 percent of opponents' rush attempts last season. They are: missed tackles, an inability to shed blocks and improper alignment.

    Dansby, acquired from the Cardinals via free agency in 2014, was hardly the only one guilty of misalignment and he made more plays than he missed. His coverage skills helped the Browns evolve into one of the league's top teams against the pass.

    Still, Dansby is a unit leader and coach Mike Pettine said it's important for the inside linebacker to understand how a step or two in any direction can make a difference between stuffing a run or watching it go for a big gain. Especially in a division that featured three of the NFL's eight leading rushers from 2014 – LeVeon Bell (Steelers), Jeremy Hill (Bengals) and Justin Forsett (Ravens).

    "I think the big part for him this offseason was really to get back and to study the tape from last year," Pettine said when asked if Dansby had to be stouter against the run. "I think some of the issues we had were simpler things, more alignment. That's been a big point of emphasis with him this offseason is his alignments within the defenses, kind of knowing where his help was and if he could overplay one side or the other. I think that just comes with time.

    "I think he's done a real good job understanding. I know that's been a big part overall defensively. We went back and looked at last year. We kind of gave up some things based on how we lined up. We want to make sure we get those things cleaned up."

    O'Neil said one of Dansby's great attributes, his instincts, occasionally can work against him. The linebacker uses his years of experience to diagnose plays at the line and shut them down. His key sack of Drew Brees in the Browns' comeback win against the Saints – Dansby recognized the protection call – is a prime example.

    If the linebacker guesses wrong, however, he can leave the defense exposed and vulnerable.

    "With Karlos, he's so instinctual and he makes a lot of plays because he does such a great job gathering pre-snap information or listening and learning as the game is going on to what the quarterback is saying or what the offensive line is saying," O'Neil said. "I would say 80 percent of the time it ends up being a positive, and then because of that, it ends up hurting us at times.

    "As long as he continues to make more plays than he's giving up, you're OK with it, and he did last year. There were times that it did hurt us, and showing them those clips and explaining it to him and then just him being in year two is really going to help him. He had a phenomenal year for us, and that wasn't the reason we struggled in the run game – because of Karlos Dansby's alignments – but it was just one of the things that we needed to get better at."

    Dansby was lauded for his leadership and willingness to hold teammates accountable last season. Acknowledging his need for improvement is the latest example of it.

    "I've got to be better with my alignment if our defense is going to get better," he said. "Without a doubt."

    ###
    Browns LB corps should be better this year with addition of Orchard, a more experienced Kirksey, and a much better DL that won't get pushed around as much, and that helps LBs a lot. But if Dansby goes down, the LB corps and defense as a whole will take a big hit. Browns should draft an MLB in the 2016 draft.

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    I think we're really deep at all the LB spots. My son watched the Panthers replay and said Kirksey is just a beast. His size/strength ratio is nuts. You all know I love Robertson, just seems to be moving faster than anyone else. Then you add in all the Tank Carder with Dansby at the fore, it's a deep group inside.

    I thought Robertson and Kirksey played well together. We had the lowest number of missed tackles per rush so a lot of it was on the banged up DL getting pushed around. And on the outside? Kruger, Mingo, Orchard, Solomon... that's awesome.

    Our defense is freaking stacked. I'm not sure our games will be "exciting," exactly... but I don't think we're gonna get blow out much if at all. We'll be a really, really tough out. Not a team offenses wanna face.

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    I'll take the pessimist's view here. I'm not as impressed with Robertson. Plays great sometimes. Gets blown off the ball other times. Too inconsistent. We seem to have far more OLBs than ILBs which is probably why Robertson will keep his starting job.

    Kirksey also gets blocked out of plays too easily and needs to learn how to shed blockers better. As an ILB he tackles well, though. But his youth shows up in play recognition. I'm hoping he'll get better with more experience.

    Dansby is our linebacking strength, yet he's getting up there in years. If he has more than two good years left in him, I'll be surprised. I think Nate Orchard will challenge Dansby for his starting spot as early as next year and certainly by 2017 when Dansby will be in the last year of his contract.

    Mingo is the key to a successful LB corps this year. And as I typed that, it made me real nervous. He MUST step up and be The Man. I realize he was hurt last year, but this is his year to prove he was worth that first-round pick.

    The LBs deserve as much blame as our DL for the bad run defense last year. If Mingo and Kirksey don't progress and Robertson isn't more consistent, then I think the LBs will be our defensive weakness this year. As it is, I don't see them being much more than mediocre unless someone steps up and surprises.

    ...Maybe Mr. Bloodbath Solomon??
    Last edited by KJP; 07-14-2015 at 06:49 PM.
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    I couldn't shake the feeling last year that our ILB's were a significant part of the run defense problems. Lots of folks and analysts really focused the culprit area as the DL. I sure hope they were right. Too damn many times seeing our ILB's making the initial hit five yards plus down field. That sure could be due to OL's having a clear path to them because our trench guys weren't doing their job. Again, I hope that was it. I like Kirksey primarily because he played well as a rookie. LB's a tough NFL job assignment and I expect him to be better this year. Dansby we need and he needs to stay healthy. I'm sort of on the fence with Robertson as well. Flashes some great stuff but then seems to disappear for stretches. That's hardly a slight as it was more impression than analysis, but the staff seems to like him so I'm on board.

    The outside guys are my biggest area of hoped for improvement. We need impact plays from our edge guys, especially in pressuring the QB. I like Kruger a lot but I think he needs a real horse on the other side to really be effective. We don't have to have a T Suggs appear across from him this year, but if Orchard/Mingo/Solomon can command some attention from the other side, Kruger can really be a force.

    All that said, the expected increase in play from our new DL talent is certainly a LB's best friend. No reason to not be optimistic about this LB corps.

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    The coaches love Robertson because of his speed. But I've only noticed his speed in the open field rather than in the first 2-10 yards where I would think it matters more for an ILB. I can't find anything on his 10-yard split time, however.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shep View Post
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    I think we're really deep at all the LB spots. My son watched the Panthers replay and said Kirksey is just a beast. His size/strength ratio is nuts. You all know I love Robertson, just seems to be moving faster than anyone else. Then you add in all the Tank Carder with Dansby at the fore, it's a deep group inside.

    I thought Robertson and Kirksey played well together. We had the lowest number of missed tackles per rush so a lot of it was on the banged up DL getting pushed around. And on the outside? Kruger, Mingo, Orchard, Solomon... that's awesome.

    Our defense is freaking stacked. I'm not sure our games will be "exciting," exactly... but I don't think we're gonna get blow out much if at all. We'll be a really, really tough out. Not a team offenses wanna face.
    The big change we should begin to see this year is Shelton blowing up the line of scrimmage. Just like Ngata in Baltimore, when you have a force like that in the middle, that disrupts an entire offense and frees the defense to execute its mission better.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by KJP View Post
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    The coaches love Robertson because of his speed. But I've only noticed his speed in the open field rather than in the first 2-10 yards where I would think it matters more for an ILB. I can't find anything on his 10-yard split time, however.
    I'm OK with Robertson but a lot of objective analysts aren't all that high on him. He does need to learn to tackle better based on what I have observed about him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greythan View Post
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    I couldn't shake the feeling last year that our ILB's were a significant part of the run defense problems. Lots of folks and analysts really focused the culprit area as the DL. I sure hope they were right. Too damn many times seeing our ILB's making the initial hit five yards plus down field. That sure could be due to OL's having a clear path to them because our trench guys weren't doing their job. Again, I hope that was it. I like Kirksey primarily because he played well as a rookie. LB's a tough NFL job assignment and I expect him to be better this year. Dansby we need and he needs to stay healthy. I'm sort of on the fence with Robertson as well. Flashes some great stuff but then seems to disappear for stretches. That's hardly a slight as it was more impression than analysis, but the staff seems to like him so I'm on board.

    The outside guys are my biggest area of hoped for improvement. We need impact plays from our edge guys, especially in pressuring the QB. I like Kruger a lot but I think he needs a real horse on the other side to really be effective. We don't have to have a T Suggs appear across from him this year, but if Orchard/Mingo/Solomon can command some attention from the other side, Kruger can really be a force.

    All that said, the expected increase in play from our new DL talent is certainly a LB's best friend. No reason to not be optimistic about this LB corps.
    Some of the problem was the inability of the OLBs to police the edges properly. Many successful runs and screen passes were made to the edges. Let's hope that is clean up this year -- they took too long to fix it last year.

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    For those commenting on LB's making plays 5 yards deep, that is indicative of the DL not getting a hat on the OL and/or stuffing the lanes. These issues allow the RB to get up on the LB's before they are able to react to their reads and stuff the remaining lanes. I think Dansby himself also mentioned lane/gap integrity, which is a difficult thing to learn in the first year of this type of defensive system. I anticipate having the bulk of the players in the second year will help immensely, but the addition of Cooper/Shelton/Starks/Orchard will also provide quality depth and an upgrade.
    Football is all about synergy. Replace a poor player with a great player and watch the surrounding players suddenly seem vastly improved. When you aren't covering for someone else, you can do YOUR JOB better.



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    Quote Originally Posted by DawgFan View Post
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    For those commenting on LB's making plays 5 yards deep, that is indicative of the DL not getting a hat on the OL and/or stuffing the lanes.
    I know that's the usual first line cause and effect chain there Dawg, but the LB also has responsibility to anticipate, set a difficult angle for the blocker, shed the block, take advantage of his footspeed advantage over an OL, etc to get to a gap at/near the LOS. I didn't see a ton of that. Let's hope you're right, for sure. I just have a little nagging concern there is all.

    I'd love one of our two ILB's to be the prototypical thumper. We don't seem to have that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DawgFan View Post
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    For those commenting on LB's making plays 5 yards deep, that is indicative of the DL not getting a hat on the OL and/or stuffing the lanes. These issues allow the RB to get up on the LB's before they are able to react to their reads and stuff the remaining lanes. I think Dansby himself also mentioned lane/gap integrity, which is a difficult thing to learn in the first year of this type of defensive system. I anticipate having the bulk of the players in the second year will help immensely, but the addition of Cooper/Shelton/Starks/Orchard will also provide quality depth and an upgrade.
    Good points DF. The D line and LBs operate in sync with each other. It helps immensely if a lineman can demand a double team. Each player has a gap they are responsible for, and it can vary depending on the O formations. If you have to double team, that frees up a LB. Also the secondary have responsibilities with run support, a missed tackle or wrong read can cause a big run. So, it's on all three areas of the D. that are responsible for the run'

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    When you're best at NOT missing tackles (per rush), that usually speaks well to your linebackers. If you manage to do that AND suck at stopping the run, that points the arrow directly at the DL, not the LBs.

    Robertson's split must be nuts. He looks like he was shot out of a cannon sometimes. He improved in coverage so much last year it was astounding. He's a really good player. When you catch a fish like that, you don't throw it back. Coaches love him.

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    The Browns have addressed stopping the run this off season. I've said it before that this defense is one over the top, flat out, first ballot HOF'er from being seriously dominant. A JJ Watt, Kuechly or Suh type of guy that offenses fear.

    I'm hoping Shelton can be that guy cause this defense is pretty good as it is now.
    Hopefully Mingo picked up a weight and can be more than a rotational cover backer.




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    It's tough to argue those results." Pat McManamon 5-3-16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydog View Post
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    Hopefully Mingo picked up a weight and can be more than a rotational cover backer.
    On that note, just heard he has been fully cleared to participate in the pre-season.

    As he had surgery after the season...I doubt he has had much time to do much other than rehab...but that can also add some size at times. I just hope he has learned the contain and a few moves to go with his speed rush.
    Football is all about synergy. Replace a poor player with a great player and watch the surrounding players suddenly seem vastly improved. When you aren't covering for someone else, you can do YOUR JOB better.



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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydog View Post
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    The Browns have addressed stopping the run this off season. I've said it before that this defense is one over the top, flat out, first ballot HOF'er from being seriously dominant. A JJ Watt, Kuechly or Suh type of guy that offenses fear.

    I'm hoping Shelton can be that guy cause this defense is pretty good as it is now.
    Hopefully Mingo picked up a weight and can be more than a rotational cover backer.


    I agree, and I want that guy to be in the LB corps. A super-fast, great all-around 'backer can lift an entire defense, from pass rush, to run-stopper to pass defense. I'm not expecting Lawrence Taylor, but I would like the Browns to have one of the 10 best linebackers in the NFL. Give me Luke Kuechly, Patrick Willis, Justin Houston, DeMarcus Ware, Vontaze Burfict, NaVorro Bowman, Tamba Hali, or Lavonte David.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DawgFan View Post
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    On that note, just heard he has been fully cleared to participate in the pre-season.

    As he had surgery after the season...I doubt he has had much time to do much other than rehab...but that can also add some size at times. I just hope he has learned the contain and a few moves to go with his speed rush.

    LOL! We now have a REAL outside linebacker ... his name is Nate Orchard.

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    This is the year that I am glad I bought a Mingo jersey. Calling it now!
    BROWNS 2017: FUCK IT, DUDE... LET'S GO BOWLING

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    Mingo might not see the field much bro. Good Luck.
    "The quarterback question lingers, but the Browns traded and traded and traded and traded and traded and acquired nine players and three high draft choices.

    It's tough to argue those results." Pat McManamon 5-3-16

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    Quote Originally Posted by DawgFan View Post
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    On that note, just heard he has been fully cleared to participate in the pre-season.

    As he had surgery after the season...I doubt he has had much time to do much other than rehab...but that can also add some size at times. I just hope he has learned the contain and a few moves to go with his speed rush.
    I can appreciate you always giving him a pass whether it's his injuries or something else, but Donovan was filling in for Drennan on Drennan Live and he intimated something to the effect of now that Mingo is healthy he'll be expected to do what he was drafted to do...Sack QB's.
    "The quarterback question lingers, but the Browns traded and traded and traded and traded and traded and acquired nine players and three high draft choices.

    It's tough to argue those results." Pat McManamon 5-3-16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydog View Post
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    Mingo might not see the field much bro. Good Luck.
    Agree this may be the case by some point in the season, if things work a certain way. (Orchard getting to the passer)
    I see Solomon, actually, with a great chance of starting with his ability not to "set the edge" but to Blow It Up!!!

    Mingo will have the first opportunity at least to prove he can consistently get to the QB, but Nate Orchard and Armonty Bryant will be in line to make their claim on that rusher role.

    It may be that Mingo's reduced to a cover specialist if he doesn't prove his worth fast... but I think mostly just Solomon will take time from him because Mingo's the better overall OLB than Orchard or Bryant right now, this season. And, hopefully Mingo surprises us with his pass rush and becomes that #6 overall OLB we drafted...

    It's a bit of a log-jam at OLB, with what we think Orchard & Bryant can do.

    I think that's what Craig Robertson gives us at MLB. He's the ideal back-up/step-in MLB.
    With guys like these, after you consider our deep Secondary - when you look at our 2ND TEAM DEFENSE - you realize some NFL teams would much prefer to have it to their 1st team!!!
    Last edited by Lou Groza; 07-19-2015 at 11:30 AM.

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    http://dawgpounddaily.com/2015/07/13...w-linebackers/

    Cleveland Browns 2015 position preview - Linebackers
    by Brandon Lambert 5d ago

    The Cleveland Browns defense is entering 2015 with some pretty high expectations from a lot of people.

    The defensive line has been revamped through the draft (Danny Shelton and Xavier Cooper) and free agency (Randy Starks), while the already stingy secondary added Tramon Williams to play opposite Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden.

    With the possible exception of Nate Orchard, the Browns linebacker corp has gone largely unchanged, let’s take a look at the position group heading into the 2015 season.

    On the outside, Barkevious Mingo and Paul Kruger are returning, though incumbent Mingo will be facing a tough camp battle against Orchard, a second-round pick out of Utah who posted 18.5 sacks in 2014. In addition, journeyman Scott Solomon is getting some attention from the media and the coaching staff, so look for him to make some noise as we move through training camp as well.

    While Mingo may be in a battle on one side, Kruger is firmly entrenched in his position on the opposite side coming off of a solid 11 sack season in 2014.

    Related: Browns Position Preview – Defensive Line

    Inside linebacker is going to be a similar story, with the venerable Karlos Dansby having the left inside linebacker spot on lock down after a season that showed the 33-year-old linebacker give as much effort and energy on every play as any 24-year-old on the field. It is also no coincident that the run defense struggled, giving up almost 127 yards a game (including 244 against Cincinnati), in the four games Dansby missed with injury.

    Related: Browns Position Preview – Defensive Backs

    The other inside spot may well be by committee, with Chris Kirksey and Craig Robertson sharing snaps throughout the season. Don’t expect too much competition from anyone else on the team for playing time at the inside linebacker spot. A good rotation, with Dansby anchoring the unit, should quietly be one of the most underrated units on the field this season.

    Rookies Hayes Pullard and Mike Reilly will certainly have their chance to earn a roster spot, but it will be an uphill battle, with their best opportunities being on special teams. Barring injuries, don’t expect to see too much of the two rookies during the season. Darius Eubanks is another linebacker who will have a real uphill battle to make the team, and if he does so the practice squad may be his best bet.

    Overall, if Mingo can leave the past behind him and evolve into the pass rusher the Browns were hoping he would be when they drafted him number six overall in the 2013 draft, combined with the addition of Orchard and the presence of solid veterans on the team, the Browns linebackers can be a solid unit that supports both the defensive line and the secondary to help pick up an offense that may well have it’s fair share of struggles this year moving the ball up and down the field.

    Do you think the linebackers will have a solid year in 2015?
    "Hillary Clinton belongs in the White House. Donald Trump belongs on my show."--Jerry Springer
    Cleveland Browns: 13 losing seasons in first 50 years. 15 losing seasons since 1999 -- and counting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydog View Post
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    The Browns have addressed stopping the run this off season. I've said it before that this defense is one over the top, flat out, first ballot HOF'er from being seriously dominant. A JJ Watt, Kuechly or Suh type of guy that offenses fear.

    I'm hoping Shelton can be that guy cause this defense is pretty good as it is now.
    Hopefully Mingo picked up a weight and can be more than a rotational cover backer.




    This Browns defense has the talent now to be exceptional. We'll find out how good of a coach O'Neil is!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KJP View Post
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    http://dawgpounddaily.com/2015/07/13...w-linebackers/

    Cleveland Browns 2015 position preview - Linebackers
    by Brandon Lambert 5d ago

    The Cleveland Browns defense is entering 2015 with some pretty high expectations from a lot of people.

    The defensive line has been revamped through the draft (Danny Shelton and Xavier Cooper) and free agency (Randy Starks), while the already stingy secondary added Tramon Williams to play opposite Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden.

    With the possible exception of Nate Orchard, the Browns linebacker corp has gone largely unchanged, let’s take a look at the position group heading into the 2015 season.

    On the outside, Barkevious Mingo and Paul Kruger are returning, though incumbent Mingo will be facing a tough camp battle against Orchard, a second-round pick out of Utah who posted 18.5 sacks in 2014. In addition, journeyman Scott Solomon is getting some attention from the media and the coaching staff, so look for him to make some noise as we move through training camp as well.

    While Mingo may be in a battle on one side, Kruger is firmly entrenched in his position on the opposite side coming off of a solid 11 sack season in 2014.

    Related: Browns Position Preview – Defensive Line

    Inside linebacker is going to be a similar story, with the venerable Karlos Dansby having the left inside linebacker spot on lock down after a season that showed the 33-year-old linebacker give as much effort and energy on every play as any 24-year-old on the field. It is also no coincident that the run defense struggled, giving up almost 127 yards a game (including 244 against Cincinnati), in the four games Dansby missed with injury.

    Related: Browns Position Preview – Defensive Backs

    The other inside spot may well be by committee, with Chris Kirksey and Craig Robertson sharing snaps throughout the season. Don’t expect too much competition from anyone else on the team for playing time at the inside linebacker spot. A good rotation, with Dansby anchoring the unit, should quietly be one of the most underrated units on the field this season.

    Rookies Hayes Pullard and Mike Reilly will certainly have their chance to earn a roster spot, but it will be an uphill battle, with their best opportunities being on special teams. Barring injuries, don’t expect to see too much of the two rookies during the season. Darius Eubanks is another linebacker who will have a real uphill battle to make the team, and if he does so the practice squad may be his best bet.

    Overall, if Mingo can leave the past behind him and evolve into the pass rusher the Browns were hoping he would be when they drafted him number six overall in the 2013 draft, combined with the addition of Orchard and the presence of solid veterans on the team, the Browns linebackers can be a solid unit that supports both the defensive line and the secondary to help pick up an offense that may well have it’s fair share of struggles this year moving the ball up and down the field.

    Do you think the linebackers will have a solid year in 2015?
    I think the starters at LB are fine but it's the depth at MLB I worry about. I don't think the Tank is all that good. Browns may need to draft an MLB in spring of 2016 to groom him for replacing Dansby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydog View Post
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    Mingo might not see the field much bro. Good Luck.
    I think Nate Orchard is an upgrade over Mingo. Mingo has more natural talent than Nate but Nate has more fire in the belly and better instincts that Mingo. Mingo never really was a big playmaker at LSU, in my view. Orchard, on the other hand, was all over the field for Utah in the tough PAC 12.

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