What do Cleveland Browns players and units need to improve on as they prepare for Thursday’s second preseason game against Buffalo?
On offense, the backup offensive line.
On defense, cornerback Justin Gilbert.
That’s the word from ProFootballFocus.com, which uses its own metrics and film analysis to break down plays and players.
Defensively, Gilbert had the lowest overall rating of any Browns player in the loss to Washington. PFF had him on the field for 37 plays and graded him below zero in coverage and overall play. Gilbert probably will not play against Buffalo due to a hip flexor injury he sustained Tuesday night in the practice against the Bills.
Other Browns defensive players who received negative grades were rookie corner Charles Gaines, DE/LB Armonty Bryant, S Johnson Bademosi and rookie linebacker Nate Orchard. Orchard had a negative grade on run defense, Gilbert and rookie inside linebacker Hayes Pullard had negative grades on pass coverage.
Offensively, six backup linemen received negative grades, including rookie first-round draft pick Cam Erving. Other backup linemen who received negative grades include Darrian Miller, Michael Bowie, Karim Barton, Ryan Seymour and Vinston Painter.
Erving’s grades were a mixed bag. He had by far the best overall grade on the team in run blocking, but his pass protection grade was especially low. Erving was playing left tackle (with Joe Thomas resting) after spending all camp at center and right guard.
In the fourth quarter, when the backup linemen were playing, the Browns had possessions that totaled, 17, 4 and 2 yards. Bowie was penalized for holding, Erving for a false start and quarterback Thad Lewis was sacked twice.
Among other noteworthy grades:
Backup tight end E.J. Bibbs had three catches for 29 yards and seemed productive, but PFF gave him a negative overall grade based on his run blocking.
Vince Mayle also received a negative grade based on dropped passes (one that was intercepted).