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Time for Browns' secondary to step up

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Posted Oct. 06, 2010 @ 4:24 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Every Wednesday, we'll identity one Browns player, coach, position group or executive under the most pressure in the coming week. This week, the secondary is under focus.

In the Browns' first two games, Cleveland allowed just 170.5 passing yards per game and only two TDs, one of which was tipped by Browns CB Sheldon Brown.

The pass defense was not nearly as strong in Weeks Three and Four, however, surrendering 301.0 yards per contest and five TDs in that span. Ravens WR Anquan Boldin and Bengals WR Terrell Owens turned in dominant performances, which raises questions about the team's ability to cover top-caliber competition.

Brown gave up the longest completion of the season vs. Cleveland in Week Four, a 78-yard Carson Palmer-to-Owens bomb when the Bengals picked up the blitz and Owens beat his former Eagles teammate for six. But Wright's play is of particular concern. Boldin beat him three times for TDs in Week Three.

After the Browns' 23-20 win vs. Cincinnati on Sunday, head coach Eric Mangini defended Wright.

"Some of those things, the long ball that hit to Ochocinco, he should have had help over the top," Mangini said of his play vs. the Bengals, specifically referring to a 42-yard completion to Ochocinco. "I know it looks like he gave up that play, but he should have had help over the top.

"Eric, he's going to compete each week and he's going to make his share of plays, I have faith in him. I've coached a lot of defensive backs. I believe in the things he can do and he'll respond, he'll respond every week. I trust that."

The Browns need Wright to play better, certainly. But Mangini's comments about the coverage on the long pass to Ochocinco signaled that Wright didn't get the help he needed from another secondary player, likely a safety.

Whatever the Browns' coverage issues. the Falcons and their potent passing game coming to town on Sunday, and the Browns need to any problems fixed, and fast. 




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