Upon Further Review-Cleveland Special Teams

Matt Sullivan

A look at the Cleveland Browns Special Teamers.

The Denver Broncos host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday looking for their 10th consecutive victory over the Browns and this season. I think the Special Teams Units of both teams are close, but Pro Football Focus ranks the Broncos 2nd and the Browns 29th in the league. On other hand, Football Outsiders has Cleveland ranked 3rd and Denver 10th. Let’s see if we can find out where the discrepancy is.

KICKERS

Phil Dawson handles the kicking duties for the Browns. He is 26 for 27 (93.5%) on Field Goal Attempts this season and would be perfect except for a Block at Oakland in Week 13. Raiders Defensive Tackle Desmond Bryant got just enough penetration and got a hand on it. Dawson’s longest this season was a 52-yarder and his career long is 56 yards. He is a perfect 25 for 25 on Extra Points.
Phil has Kicked off 66 times, with 23 Touchbacks. The average landing area is the six yard line and 39 have been returned for an average of 20.0 yards.

Cleveland’s Punter/Holder is Reggie Hodges. He has punted 77 times with a Gross average of 41.9 and a Net of 37.1 yards. 12 have gone Out of Bounds, 11 were Downed, 3 went for Touchbacks, 23 were Fair Caught and 28 were returned an average of 11.2 yards, including 1 Touchdown--An 81-yard return by Adam "Pac-Man" Jones back in Week 2 at Cincinnati.

The Long Snapping specialist for the Browns is Christian Yount, a 2nd year player out of UCLA. Originally signed by Tampa Bay as an undrafted Free Agent on July 27, 2011, Yount handled all the long snapping duties with the Buccaneers for the first seven games of the season. He was waived after the team activated their primary long snapper Andrew Economos from the PUP list. He then signed with the Browns on November 29, 2011 and
handled all their long snapping for the final five games of the season. Yount has 2 Special Teams stops this season.

RETURNERS

Joshua Cribbs is the Browns primary return man, though Rookie Travis Benjamin has had some opportunities. Cribbs, in his 8th season, has returned 33 punts an average of 12.8 yards with a long of 60 yards. He has only called for 3 Fair Catches. Travis Benjamin has had 3 opportunities, with a 49.7 yard average and 1 Touchdown, a 93-yarder in Week 14 against the Kansas City Chiefs. It was the longest punt return in Browns history and earned Travis a Special Teams Player of the Week award. Timed at 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2012 Combine, Benjamin's nickname is the "Belle Glade Blur."

On kickoffs, Cribbs has had 32 returns for a 27.7 average, with a long of 74 yards. Benjamin has had 2 opportunities with a 23.5 yard average.


COVERAGE

Cleveland is allowing the 2nd least yardage on Kickoffs (20.0), with Carolina being number 1 with an 18.2 average. The Broncos are 5th with a 21.4 average.

The Browns are allowing the 8th most (25th) punt return yardage at 11.0, while the Broncos rank 3rd with a 5.8 average.

Rookie Cornerback Johnson Bademosi is the Browns best overall coverage guy with 13 Tackles, 2 Assists and one Missed Tackle. Cornerback Buster Skrine (9 TKL, 5 MT), Linebacker Craig Robertson (6 TKL, 3 AST, 1 MT), Wide Receiver Joshua Cribbs (6 TKL, 1 AST), Linebacker L.J. Fort (5 TKL, 2 MT), Linebacker Tank Carder (5 TKL, 2 AST, 3 MT), Strong Safety Ray Ventrone (4 TKL, 1 AST) and Cornerback Trevin Wade (4 TKL) round out the leaders on Special Teams for the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns outnumber the Broncos in dangerous return men, so it’s a good thing only one person can carry the ball at a time.

Go Broncos!

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