Throughout the season following each game I will be taking a look at the rookies and how they fared each week. This will consist of thoughts such as the positive and negatives from that game, areas to watch or work on and clips to support what I’m sharing. Hopefully, this will shed some insight on some things you may or may not have seen.
Week 17 – Cleveland Browns
Najee Harris (Round 1) – 78 offensive snaps, 28 carries, 188 yards, 6.71 YPC, 1 TD, 3 targets, 3 receptions, 18 yards, 6.00 YPR
For the seventh time this year, Harris played at least 95% of the snaps. He has been the true workhorse and was finally rewarded with some running lanes. A new coach running the offensive line and a new starter at center helped pave the way for Harris to set career highs in carries and yards. He did an impressive job of using patience, vision, quick cuts and gap manipulation to move linebackers and set up his blocks. His yards after contact numbers had to be off the charts as he was breaking tackles and finishing forward on just about every play.
In the passing game he caught all three of his targets while adding 15 yards after the catch. The receptions all came on routes out of the backfield even though he was often lined up in the slot or out wide. An angle route led to the biggest gain while sneak and stab routes garnered short gains. He was used to chip on the edge and did well picking up the blitz from the backfield.
Two runs from Harris showing his vision and cutting ability. The first he will head for the A gap and see the linebacker moving that way so he starts to cut to B gap but a defender is closing in so back to the A gap to gain eight. The second plays he uses vision and multiple cuts for a big gain.
Pat Freiermuth (Round 2) – 62 offensive snaps, 4 special team snap, 6 targets, 5 receptions, 22 yards, 4.40 YPR, 1 tackle
Freiermuth played a career high number of snaps and was used on all three levels of the route tree. The majority of his receptions came in the short area on flat, drag and quick out routes and he showed reliable hands and good numbers after the catch. He had twenty-one yards after the catch by breaking tackles or dropping his shoulder to run through defenders.
As a blocker he had one of his better games. He was able to position himself well on blocks on the edge and had a solid block inside on the second level for a Harris run. As a pass blocker he had a couple reps where he was able to engage and sustain and added a good chip on the edge to help out the offensive line. It’s good to see improvements in the blocking game and shows he’s moving in the right direction.
Here are a couple solid blocking reps from Freiermuth (88). On the first he will block down inside and then show awareness to pick up the second level defender. The second is in pass protection pushing Garrett to the inside.
Dan Moore (Round 4) – 81 offensive snaps, 6 special teams snaps
Moore has been tested all season and faced off with another top notch pass rusher he held his own. He showed better anchoring versus bull rushes and did a good job pushing pass rushers up the arc. There were a couple reps where the pass rusher was able to get low and use a rip move to force Moore to hook the defender to prevent him from hitting the quarterback.
As a run blocker he performed well also. On gap runs, he showed good balance and lateral agility to stay square to the LOS and control the defender. On several plays he showed good timing and execution on combo blocks to double team block with the guard before climbing to the second level and sustaining the block. He was also good on mirror blocks to wall off the defender to the outside on inside runs.
A nice block from Moore (65) handling the inside spin move from Myles Garrett (95).
Isaiahh Loudermilk (Round 5) – 45 defensive snaps, 8 special teams snaps, 2 tackles, 1 pass defensed
For the second consecutive week Loudermilk got the start and set a new season high in snaps. He was used along the defensive line as the 1/3/5 technique. He was effective on the front side of plays using his hands well to keep defenders off of him. He was solid in his gaps and gave good chase. He wasn’t as stout at the point of attack early in the game and got pushed around a bit by the veteran interior offensive lineman.
In the passing game he attempted some power rushes and a club move but was largely ineffective rushing the passer. He was able to get his hands up to knock down a pass as well as draw a holding penalty. He also drew a holding penalty on a running play. He needs to improve his snap quickness to help his game. He also needs to work on getting blockers hands off of his chest. He ended up on the ground on five first half plays when lineman were able to grab him and yank him down.
Tre Norwood (Round 7) – 16 defensive snaps, 17 special team snaps, 3 tackles, 2 solo tackle, 1 interception
Norwood had his usual solid play overall and all of his snaps came in dime. He played over the slot, as a linebacker and as a safety. His coverage snaps included eight in Man coverage and six in Zone coverage with half of those as the deep safety in the middle of the field in Cover 3.
He ended up with three tackles that all came in the fourth quarter. The first came on a draw play that he got downhill quickly to assist on the tackle. The second was on a scramble by the quarterback and the final came in Man coverage on stick route. And congratulations are in order after recording his first career interception with and assist from Minkah Fitzpatrick who put a shoulder on the ball at the catch point to knock it to Norwood.
Inactive for Week 17 – Kendrick Green (Round 3), LB Buddy Johnson (Round 4), Presley Harvin III (Round 7)
Practice Squad –S Donovan Stiner, DL Daniel Archibong, WR Tyler Vaughns, WR Rico Bussey
Reserve/Injured – None