BGA: Defensive Line – Let it Mo, let it Mo, let it Mo

The Browns picked up 115 yards on the ground, although their running backs were held to a respectable 72 yards on 18 carries (with the balance of the yardage on Jason Campbell scrambles and a big gain on an end around by Josh Gordon). However, it was in the passing game where the defensive line made their biggest contributions, sacking Campbell three times and combining for 25 pressures.

Muhammad Wilkerson had a pretty quiet first half, but the Browns’ pass protection couldn’t cope with Quinton Coples in the first half and once they adjusted to that, Wilkerson was freed up to do more damage. That’s exactly what he did, with all but one of his six pressures coming in the second half. Wilkerson was also credited with half a sack and was in on three tackles close to the line. Perhaps his most impressive play of all saw him chase down a running back on a screen pass to hold that play to a six yard gain when it could have gone for much more.

Leger Douzable deserves some credit here too. He got into the backfield to flush Campbell out of the pocket and force a throw away in the first half and then had a half-sack on two consecutive snaps in the second half. Douzable has been an underrated pickup by John Idzik, playing over 20% of the snaps and grading out positively. When your starters are so strong, it’s often difficult for a backup to come in and prevent any kind of drop-off, but Douzable has managed that most of the time. Having said that, he did replace an injured Sheldon Richardson in the second quarter and the Browns blocked him out of the play to score on a touchdown run on the very next snap. Still, Douzable – who is having a career year as a pass rusher – has played well enough for the Jets to consider re-signing him.

Another backup that has done well all year is Kenrick Ellis and he stuffed one run for no gain and got some good penetration on two other plays. He did, however, jump offside once.

The Jets haven’t missed a beat whenever Ellis has entered the game for the excellent Damon Harrison. Harrison had a quiet game statistically with no tackles, but was still an immovable force in the middle most of the time and did help bottle up a couple of runs. In this game, he instead made contributions as a pass rusher, flushing Campbell from the pocket on one play and batting down a pass at the line on another. Harrison also jumped offside once.

Finally, Sheldon Richardson was called for a seemingly bogus roughing the passer penalty after he fell on Campbell following a hit in the red zone. I’m not sure how he could have prevented that. Perhaps that should be re-classified as “Illegal use of the laws of gravity” or something. He went on to compound the “mistake” by removing his helmet and getting called for an unsportsmanlike penalty. You have to admire Richardson’s desire, but he must ensure he keeps his emotions under control, because it would be disappointing to see him called for something similar in a more critical situation.

Richardson did have a couple of pressures and was credited with six tackles, including one at the goal line on the snap after his roughing penalty. He’s had a remarkably productive season and currently holds a lead of four over JJ Watt for the most combined tackles for 3-4 defensive ends around the league. It would be good to see him maintain that.


Next up…more on Coples, as the linebackers play their part.

17 comments
Ron Alexander
Ron Alexander

Bent, its kind of weird reading Kendrick Ellis the 3rd rd pick being the back up to Big (undrafted Snacks Harrison.Frankly i see them as pretty equal but I'm betting you have some stats that say differently.Any way, i think they are both quality starters as I haven't seen either of them blocked on a consistent basis by any one this year.

__fense
__fense

Richardson didn't take off his helmet, it came off on his own when his head hit the ground. 

Vinny Cammarato
Vinny Cammarato

Would anyone consider trading Ellis ? He seems to be a legit  NT but we have Harrison and a bunch of other great D lineman. I wonder what his value would be.

hobiel
hobiel

Jets got called for an off-side when they got back on-side without making contact before the snap.  The Browns OL flinched.  I get the call if the flinch were immediate to the defensive jump, but it looked like is was after the DL retreated.  How does that rule work?

djf1
djf1

Ridiculous penalties against the jets this season are ridiculous.  Someone should compile a video and send it to the league.

gbrownn
gbrownn

For what it's worth, Im loving the Christmas themed BGA titles today

Brendan
Brendan

That penalty was the worst thing I've possibly ever seen. 


JJ Watt hit Peyton Manning nearly a full second after he released the ball yesterday and there was no call. Richardson hits Campbell a nanosecond after the release and it's a flag? 


The refs had some very questionable calls/no-calls yesterday. How they missed the blatant hold of Wilkerson on Campbell's scramble inside the red zone is beyond me. 

a57se
a57se

PFF actually gave Richardson a negative grade and cited his roughing the passer penalty.

I was pissed about that.

It seemed like when Richardson went out, the Browns started having success running the ball as they didn't do much up to that point.

Would you please break down the difference in rushing yards by the Browns with and without Sheldon in the game?

There was also one play where it looked like the offense jumped but then the officials got together and after taking their sweet time, ruled the Jets offsides.......Have you noticed anything the opposing offense are doing to try and draw the Jets offsides?


Bent
Bent

@Ron Alexander Yeah, they've both been great but Harrison took the starting role when Ellis was hurt and deserves to still have it because he's been outstanding playing twice as many reps as Ellis.

Bent
Bent

@Vinny Cammarato I vote no.  With no Ellis, if Harrison went down, we'd be in trouble IMO.

__fense
__fense

@hobiel Normally it's only off-side if the ball is snapped before the player gets back on-side, and then a flag gets thrown and the offense can run the play before deciding to accept the penalty or not, but there are two exceptions. The first is if the defender's unimpeded to the QB (no linemen between the two), when the whistle blows right away and the play never happens, so that the defender doesn't just lay out the QB right away because the started the play in the backfield. The other time it's called before the snap is when a member of the offence moves because he's reacting to the defender. I've always interpreted it like it's there to stop a defender from pushing a lineman over before the snap and forcing the ref to call a false start because the defender (without this rule) is allowed to be off-side before the snap but the lineman isn't allowed to move for any reason. But this (in my mind) as been perverted into 'if the defender is off-sides and a lineman jumps up and points at him, it's a penalty'. They are reacting the the defender being off-side and moving because of them, but I feel like the spirit of the rules is talking about bracing for an early hit, not purposely moving to force a penalty. It's technically correct, but I don't think it should be correct.

__fense
__fense

@Brendan Was there a play all season where they didn't miss a blatant hold? There were three plays all game where I wasn't complaining about someone forcing Wilkerson to drag them with him into the backfield or Boss Hogg being thrown to the ground by his facemask, and two of those plays were because the refs actually called holding.

djf1
djf1

@a57se that's complete crap about grading him down for that BS penalty. 

djf1
djf1

@Bent@Vinny Cammarato I guess if the offer was amazing...but as you said, we all know nose tackles are injury prone.

Bent
Bent

@__fense @Brendan Wilkerson on the Campbell scramble up the middle was a particuarly bad one.

Bent
Bent

@djf1 @a57se They have to grade everyone down for any penalties.  If you start to grade based on your assessment of a particular call, it's going to be (a) difficult to grade subjectively and (b) not representative of the call actually made.  It's all about consistency.


You can still take it out of context and say he'd have graded positively without that call.

djf1
djf1

@Bent@djf1@a57se yeah, I get it, but in this case I subjectively disagree with their objectivity. :)

 I'm going to be mad if they use that to knock him off their #1 ROY spot though.