Browns and Bucs both searching for defense

Sunday’s game could be a shootout

Browns and Bucs both searching for defense
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) rushes as Cleveland Browns defensive back Denzel Ward (21) defends in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) (Ron Schwane)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Defense had been one area where the Browns looked pretty good most weeks, then the Chargers came to town.

Philip Rivers and company scored 38 points, Melvin Gordon lead a 246-yard effort on the ground and suddenly Browns fans are wondering what to expect Sunday against Tampa Bay.

“We need to be able to stop the run. It is obvious. We are not going to run from that,” said Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson. “We need to do that better. I think getting the turnovers that they have gotten, the 16, has been awesome. We need to continue to do that, but we have to make sure that we plug the holes that we have had.”

This could be a “get healthy” week for the Browns run defense. Tampa has struggled to run the ball. They drafted Ronald Jones in the second round out of USC, but he has been inactive most Sundays because he struggles so much in the passing game. Veteran Peyton Barber has been average at best.

The Tampa Bay defense has been bad every week. So bad that they fired Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith and replaced him with Mark Duffner. Can the Browns expect a lot of changes from what they see on tape because of that move? “I do not think that you can change a lot,” said Jackson. "I am sure he is going to change some things and I am sure that he is going to put his personality on play calls and the defense his way, but I think that the scheme and who they are is not going to change too much.”

Tampa Bay is ranked 31st against the pass in total yardage, they give up the most yards in the air per game in the league. They are ranked third against the run, but that ranking has more to do with teams just not bothering to run against them than their ability to defend it.

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