Leon McFadden to see bigger role in Browns’ defensive backfield after bye week

11/10/13 in NFL   |   Mia781   |   953 respect

FanIQ | Sports Rumors, Gossip, Blogs, News & Discussion ForumsThe Cleveland Browns’ choice of third-round cornerback Leon McFadden has been the subject of widespread criticism this year, with many already jumping to conclusions by calling the rookie a draft bust. But the Browns fans – who are likely also starting to doubt the large investment their team made on the young player this spring – could be in for some good news, according to Mary Kay of the Cleveland Palin Dealer.
Kay reports that McFadden is expected to see an expanded role in the Browns’ defensive backfield after the team comes out of its’ Week 10 bye. Browns’ defensive coordinator Ray Horton also gave such indications during his bye-week presser.
"I have complete confidence in him. … No reservations whatsoever. He’s ready to play just as (reserve linebackers) Eric Martin and Paul Hazel,” Horton said of McFadden. “Depth is great on our team and I have complete confidence in every single guy that puts on a hat, and when it’s his turn to go in there, they have to be ready for it, and he is one of those guys.”
When the Browns drafted McFadden, many were penciling him in for the starting job or at least contribute to their already talented backfield, in one form or the other. But McFadden was slowed down in camp by injuries, and slipped down the depth chart – well behind corner Chris Owens who had success on the blitz this season. So far this season, McFadden has played a total of three defensive snaps, while he has been mostly used on the special teams (84 snaps).
However, the bye week gives a healthy McFadden plenty of opportunities to get some reps and prove that he can handle increased playing time at least in sub-packages down the stretch. This way, the Browns can evaluate if McFadden can be eased into the job instead of directly testing him out in a real-game-situation.
If McFadden can come out of the bye week and fit right into the Browns’ secondary, it will help the Cleveland defense to continue improving towards the second half of the season. The Browns are looking for an opportunity to jump to the top spot in the AFC North (while being just one game behind current division leaders the 6-3 Cincinnati Bengals) and possibly remain in playoffs contention.
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