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Saturday afternoon links and notes -- defense beats offense, Brandon Johnson continues to step-up

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Generally, when training camp begins through an early segment of the regular season, the defense has a natural advantage. It takes time for the offense to gel, to get their timing, and to generally learn the playbook. The defensive playbook is generally simple compared to the offense, and relies on gap control, responsibility and instinct. So it's not really a surprise if the defense outshines the offense early, like the defense winning 44-27 against the offense during Friday night's intra-squad scrimmage.

I said in the comments of another post that perhaps the team's best off-season acquisition is the team's defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer. Not because of the scheme, or the talent. Rather he's installing a mentality of a toughness and aggressiveness we haven't seen in here in a long time. Zimmer said of Friday's scrimmage: “I thought they did what I asked them. I said if you make a mistake make it full speed. Play hard. And we've been stressing all week, tackling. We surrounded the ball real well and played physical. I thought we did a decent job of stopping the run.”

Carson Palmer went 6-10 for 51 yards passing recording a 21-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Chatman. Leon Hall was covering. Chris Perry recorded 50 yards total (9-33 rushing, 3-17 receiving). Rudi Johnson, DeDe Dorsey and Kenny Watson all sat. Jerome Simpson caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick after sprinting down the sideline outpacing Deltha O'Neal.

"I'm just here to play my best," Brandon Johnson said. Johnson continues to shine closing the window for Keith Rivers to make the starting lineup while David Dunn plays his little games. Michael Myers recorded two sacks on Ryan Fitzpatrick and cornerback Simeon Castille sacked Jordan Palmer while Corey Lynch recorded a pick against young Palmer in the end zone. Jordan did score a touchdown pass to rookie tight end Matt Sherry on a ten-yard pass.

If you watched the highlights on, you got a good dose of Marvin White. It seemed he did a fine job filling gaps, killing cutback lanes, on nearly every rush. The defense held the offense to 48 total yards rushing on 23 attempts.

Overall, the coaches and players were satisfied with the progress they've made this off-season. Units and players from all positions -- except for running backs who were down three players -- made good plays. Defensively, the unit is heeding Mike Zimmer's attitude, especially the defensive line that held the offensive line allowing Brandon Johnson to roam; though five defensive linemen had at least one tackle.

Around the Web.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh may take it easy, or even take off, next week "with a nagging hamstring".

Players Brandon Johnson, Antonio Chatman, Jerome Simpson, Michael Myers, Simeon Castille and Corey Lynch all shined when the big stars were out.

Brandon Johnson is taking full advantage of a River-less camp.

Second-year Jets cornerback, Darrelle Revis (who would have been drafted by the Bengals if he was available and Leon Hall was drafted earlier), says that Chad Johnson was the toughest for him to cover.

The Ravens are dealing with a rash of injuries during camp. But Rexx argues it's not Harbaugh's tougher camp that's the reason. After a February domestic battery incident, Ravens cornerback Fabian Washington will be suspended for the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Observations from the Steelers; the receivers could be their best group in 30 years, Big Ben is getting better, Mendenhall is "showing promise" while Moore is team's third-down back (as of now).

The Browns did an interesting concept (and I'm not sure if they've done it before). On Friday night, the Browns held their intra-squad scrimmage in Cleveland Browns Stadium; the money you pay to get in goes directly to charity. The crowd was big and the hot dogs were $1.