Mike Zimmer is great at getting the best out of his players, but I think it's become evident that the best these safeties have to offer simply isn't good enough. We've seen the bizarre effects of having this middling secondary - excellent corners, bad safeties. We conspicuously didn't grab one in the draft, and then we picked up Gibril Wilson, who was unfortunately knocked out of the season with an injury. But was he really a difference maker?
This team is still pretty good, but it has plenty of issues. It lost a game to Cleveland for multiple reasons, including mediocre clutch play by Palmer, bland play calling, bad calls by the referees and pitiful pass protection. I think the biggest thing, though, was that the safeties got exposed on both the run and the pass.
Chris Crocker blew coverages up and down, especially early on. Roy Williams did that too, and he also missed tackles and bounced off Peyton Hillis on a pathetic shoulder tackle. He's supposed to sniff and snuff the run. He couldn't do that, so why is he still starting? Of course, he might be out next week, but I feel like Ndukwe is just as good.
Crocker and Williams play with intensity. I love that. But the poor awareness, plus the lack of coverage skills and the overpursuit on the run when they do know what's going on, are things that are showing up on game film. The Browns targeted those weaknesses.
This offseason is going to be really interesting for a lot of reasons. I hope that one of those reasons is a brand new talented safety, prefereably a free safety.