The standout Player
Ahtyba Rubin – 10 tackles, 2 QB hurries
"He's been solid against the run," said defensive line coach Anthony Weaver. "He's stout. He's created opportunities for other guys. Definitely Rubin. He's just been consistent."
The big issue
Not stopping the run
**It's a problem for the entire defense, but getting better play from the 300-pounders up front will begin the process of slowing down running backs. Weaver says there have been growing pains and nobody in the building expected to be ranked 31st on defense, even if Cleveland did have to begin the season against three Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.
"I think it all starts with us," said Weaver. "We need to set the tempo early. Make sure the guys aren't running the ball up the middle. That being said, team defense – whether stopping the run or the pass – it takes all 11."
"I think we are using our hands great," said Weaver. "We are disengaging from blockers. We are getting in on plays when they present themselves. Obviously, we'd like to make more. Sometimes you just have to wait for the game to come to you. Sometimes the way our unit plays doesn't show up in the stat sheet, but that doesn't mean they are not necessarily playing well."
An adjustment to make
*Getting the pass rushers in the rotation more involved *
Armonty Bryant and Billy Winn were getting rave reviews during OTAs and Training Camp. Winn is second on the team in quarterback hurries with five, but he's yet to post a sack. Bryant saw his snap count drop to 15 against the Ravens. So far, Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard have been Cleveland's only true source of pass rush. Bryant and Winn have the talent to heavily impact a game, it's just a matter of the coaching staff finding the right moment to pounce.
"I'm definitely not disappointed in the way we've been playing," said Weaver. "I think our effort has been tremendous. I think the guys are working hard. They're doing what we ask of them. Again, I think the results will come in time. The system has been proven. These players have been proven, and I know we'll get the results we want."