There’s plenty of anticipation for the Cleveland Browns heading into this season.
One guy acquired in the offseason, linebacker Chase Winovich, is very excited to join the orange and brown.
“So fired up to be here”, is how Winovich started a recent exclusive interview with the Browns’ Nathan Zegura.
Browns fans are fired up too.
The edge position opposite of Myles Garrett has seen a couple of different faces.
The Olivier Vernon experiment could be described as “meh”. Jadeveon Clowney, currently a free agent, saw a career resurgence last year in Cleveland.
Clowney tallied nine sacks last season, the most for him in a year since 2018.
Per recent reports, Cleveland is still pushing to try and bring him back.
The #Browns are "pushing" to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Cleveland had an offer on the table at one point, somewhere in the area of $12M per season for two years (reportedly). Currently unknown whether the Browns have changed their offer.
— Noah Weiskopf (@BrownsWithNoah) April 3, 2022
Even if Clowney returns, Winovich will have an important role with the defense this season.
Coming to Cleveland
The Browns landed Winovich in mid-March through a trade with the New England Patriots.
In exchange, the Browns sent linebacker Mack Wilson back to Boston.
Winovich, a third-round draft selection in 2019, was halfway through a workout at the Patriots facilities when he learned the news of his trade to Cleveland.
That’s not uncommon from what we hear from many athletes these days.
Regardless, Winovich took it all in stride.
“Obviously there’s mixed emotions any time you go through such a life event, but I was just ecstatic”, Winovich explained to Zegura in their interview. “From the moment I talked to my family, and the proximity to my family in Pittsburgh (Winovich grew up in Jefferson Hills, PA, just south of Pittsburgh) and Toledo, and to be a Cleveland Brown, it’s a real honor. I’m so excited. The Dawg Pound, baby, let’s go!”.
It’s a homecoming of sorts for Winovich who now has family close in proximity to where he’ll play on Sundays.
Being a Midwest guy, Chase certainly knows the passion for football in the area, especially in Cleveland.
Role with the Browns
Part of getting traded is adjusting to a new role with a new team.
As it stands for Winovich, there’s still some unknown with the free agency of Clowney continuing.
Once the dust settles there, we’ll get a much clearer picture on how Winovich will be used.
“They’re pretty open-minded in terms of the utility of me, and I’m pretty open-minded in terms of what I’m willing to do”, Winovich said in his interview. “I just want to help us. I feel that sincerely, and I just want to help us win. Simple as that. Hit people, play hard, be disciplined in my assignment, and win”.
That’s a quote Browns fans can get on-board with.
Winovich set the world on fire in his first two seasons in New England.
Winovich logged five and a half sacks in 2019 and 2020, leading the Patriots in that department in the latter season.
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) August 18, 2019
Highest pressure rate this season:
1. T.J. Watt – 18.2%
2. Aaron Donald – 18%
3. Joey Bosa – 17.4%
4. Romeo Okwara – 17%
5. Chase Winovich- 16.5% pic.twitter.com/ahRIlZ28Sc
— PFF (@PFF) November 17, 2020
However, staying on the field consistently became an issue for Winovich as the Patriots did not trust his ability against the run.
He became a one-trick pony of sorts, only being used to rush the quarterback.
Injuries and more frustration led to a miserable 2021 for Chase as he did not record a single sack.
He’ll get the chance to start anew in northeast Ohio.
As he explained in his interview with the Browns, he and the team both seem open to experimenting to find the right fit for him on the defense.
If Winovich can become more consistent against the run, expect to see his snap count steadily rise throughout the season.