The Browns pass rush is objectively middle of the road
Boasting the likes of Myles Garrett, one of the most talented and productive defenders in the NFL, the Browns pass rushing unit is still just an average unit. Last season they ranked 16th with 2.2 sacks per game, and posted a paltry 0.7 sacks per game in their final three contests.
Even going against the Chiefs beaten up offensive line, the Browns pass rushers sacked Patrick Mahomes and Chad Henne only once in the divisional round. Given their production in 2019 wasn’t much better, a third straight average year seems likely.
The Browns did add Jadeveon Clowney in the offseason, but unfortunately for Cleveland fans, he’s unlikely to tilt the scales toward their favorite team. In the last three seasons Clowney has posted just 12 sacks, with only three coming in his last 21 games. While a physical freak, he has never met his pre-draft expectations and seems to be declining at this stage of his career rather than ascending.
Adding fuel to the fire, Clowney claimed he was excited to play the Chiefs and that offensive guards aren’t “real athletes.” The last thing I’d want to see, if I were a Browns fan, is one of my team’s players giving the best team in the AFC extra motivation. Despite these sentiments, the Chiefs offensive line will still have their work cut out for them.
In his first regular season action with the team, Orlando Brown will be charged with keeping Myles Garrett away from Patrick Mahomes. Garrett is the Browns best player, and he’ll be looking to improve on his impressive 2020 campaign where he generated 12 sacks and 18 quarterback hits.
On the opposite end, second-year rookie Lucas Niang will be primarily matched up against Clowney. While Clowney has regressed, Niang hasn’t seen regular season action in over a year and will need to be sharp against the seven-year veteran.
Fortunately, there’s an argument to be made this is the most talented and deepest offensive line that Patrick Mahomes has ever played behind. If that and Mahomes’ excellence in September provide any glimpse into the future, the Browns defense should be more anxious than the Chiefs offensive line come Sunday afternoon.