The Browns have hired former Cardinals defensive coordinator Al Holcomb as run game coordinator/linebackers coach, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).
Cleveland hired ex-Arizona head coach Steve Wilks as its new defensive coordinator earlier this week, so it’s no surprise to see Holcomb follow him to the Browns’ staff. Wilks and Holcomb’s history together dates back to 2013, when Wilks served as the Panthers’ assistant head coach/defensive back while Holcomb was Carolina’s linebackers coach. Holcomb continued to work under Wilks when he was promoted to the Panthers’ DC role in 2017, and followed him to the desert last season.
In Cleveland, Holcomb will helm a linebacker group that’s high on talent but lacked results last season, at least in the run game. While the Browns ranked 11th in Football Outsiders‘ adjusted line yards (meaning their defensive line was productive), the club finished next-to-last in second level yards, an indication that opposing running backs weren’t being tackled by Cleveland’s ‘backers. Joe Schobert, notably, tied for third among all defenders in missed tackles in 2018, but ranked second among linebackers in Pro Football Focus‘ pass coverage grades.
The Browns will also add Alabama defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi to their staff as defensive line coach, tweets Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports. Lupoi — who’d been with the Crimson Tide since 2014 — led a number of future NFLers at Alabama, but this will mark his first coaching gig in the pro ranks.
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