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Donte Whitner Crucial Part of Browns Turnaround

The addition of Donte Whitner gave the Cleveland Browns secondary a much needed upgrade after losing  former starter T.J. Ward at the end of the 2013 season.

During his last season in San Francisco, Whitner collected 73 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Whitner also caught a game-clinching interception against the Carolina Panthers to send the 49ers to the NFC title game for the second straight year.

Prior to signing Whitner, the Browns had a formidable pass defense but struggled to stop the run. At the end of the 2013 season, they ranked 8th against the pass and 18th against the run.

Adding Whitner gives the Browns a great cover safety who also excels in run support. At 5’10” 208 pounds, he doesn’t overwhelm people with his size, however he makes up for that with power. He was given the nickname “Hit-ner” by his teammates in reference to the devastating hits that he’s been known to deliver during the season.

As traditional strong safeties do, he will play closer to the line of scrimmage, giving him a better opportunity to impact every play. His tackling expertise and play making ability will be helpful in 2014 as the Browns will  need to find a way to slow down the potent rushing attacks in the AFC North.

As a nine year veteran, Whitner will bring  invaluable leadership to the Browns as he will lead a secondary that includes all pro Joe Haden and is bolstered by rookie corner backs Pierre Desir and Justin Gilbert. Both are expected to see a solid amount of playing time, GIlbert will challenge for a starting position.

Given his run stopping prowess, coverage talent, and experience, adding Whitner much improves an already tough defense. With free safety Tayshon Gipson in the secondary, and a front seven that features Karlos Dansby and Paul Krueger, the Browns defense looks as tough as it’s ever been.

Whitner’s three years of playoff experience are more than any other player on the Browns roster. His work ethic and preparation should become infectious to a team that enters 2014 looking to end division a title drought.

 

 

 

 

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