The Cleveland Browns are in the playoff picture at 5-3.
They’ve hit their bye week which means it’s a good time to review how players have performed over the first half of the season.
To say the Browns defense has struggled is putting it as nice as possible.
It has been tough to watch this secondary attempt to defend each week.
To be fair, they’ve had some significant injuries on defense, which have hurt the team.
It has been mostly bad for the Browns defense, but there has been a few bright spots along the way.
Let’s take a look at 2 Browns players who deserve mid-season awards on defense.
1. Myles Garrett
There was some speculation that the Browns possibly overpaid defensive end Myles Garrett this offseason.
The 24-year-old received a massive extension from the team, but is clearly showing he has been worth the money.
Most total pressures among edge defenders:
🔸 T.J. Watt – 39
🔸 Myles Garrett – 38
🔸 Shaq Barrett – 38
🔸 Joey Bosa – 37 pic.twitter.com/4ioUeG3lKo
— PFF (@PFF) November 6, 2020
Through eight games, Garrett has a league-leading nine sacks and four fumbles forced.
He is a threat to take down the quarterback on just about every play.
Garrett is well on his way to a career year and still has eight games left to play.
Right now, Garrett’s career-high in sacks for a single season is 13.5 from the 2018 campaign.
There is a good chance that Garrett surpasses that number especially with the favorable schedule in the second half.
Although, Garrett did suffer a knee injury during the Week 8 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
He received an MRI and it does not appear that any significant damage has been done.
Myles Garrett expected back after the bye
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 2, 2020
The team believes Garrett will be back to tearing apart opposing defenses after the bye week.
Honestly, Garrett could be in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, assuming he continues to play this way in the second half.
2. Denzel Ward
The Browns secondary would be in horrible shape if it weren’t for the performance of defensive back Denzel Ward.
The former first-round pick has quickly turned into one of the best corners in the league.
Most passes defended this season:
Carlton Davis – 13
James Bradberry – 12
Denzel Ward – 11 pic.twitter.com/HB6Bp0Tlu8
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) November 3, 2020
This season, Ward has 30 tackles, 11 passes defended, and one interception through eight games.
Cleveland might very well have the worst secondary in the league if they didn’t have Ward.
The 23-year-old is carrying this secondary on his back through the first half.
Ok, I can't get over this. Denzel Ward literally SLIDES underneath the block to blow up the WR screen pic.twitter.com/VeqnLuZ23u
— Jordan Zirm, a Voter (@clevezirm) October 26, 2020
To be fair, both Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit have not touched the field this season.
The Browns secondary was doomed from the beginning of the year.
Luckily, Ward has stayed healthy and continues to play like an elite defensive back.
The Browns would not be in playoff position without the performances from Ward and Garrett in the first half of the season.