Browns Cut Defensive Back Ahead of Home Opener Against Jets

Herb Miller, Browns

Getty Herb Miller #29 of the Cleveland Browns makes an interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars during a football game at TIAA Bank Field on August 12, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Baker Mayfield and the Carolina Panthers weren’t the only casualty of the Cleveland Browns‘ comeback win in Sunday’s season opener.

The Browns have decided to part ways with cornerback Herb Miller, as reported on Monday, September 12, by Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.

“Browns cut Herb Miller,” Wilson tweeted.

Cleveland gave the three-year pro the ax despite recovering a fumble on special teams Sunday. It has been in a special teams role that Miller has primarily functioned since he entered the NFL in 2020 as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Miller appeared in four games for the Bucs that season, logging five tackles and one interception. He played in just six percent of the defensive snaps for Tampa Bay but saw the field on 52 percent of special teams plays.

The defensive back joined the Browns the following year, where he played only two percent of defensive snaps but 66 percent of special teams plays across nine game appearances. Miller played in just one regular season game for Cleveland in 2022 before the team cut him Monday.

Browns Facing Injury Questions in Defensive Backfield

Greedy Williams

Getty ImagesCB Greedy Williams #26 (center) of the Cleveland Browns reacts after a play during the second quarter of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Miller was unable to break through into the regular defensive rotation over his year-plus tenure in Cleveland, even despite injury issues hampering members of the secondary.

Cornerback Greedy Williams, in particular, has dealt with persistent health problems over the past three seasons. His most recent issue involves a hamstring strain he suffered in practice last week, which landed the former second-round pick on the injured reserve list (IR). Williams will now be forced to sit out at least the first four games of the season, per NFL rules.

Williams’ injury has created a void in Cleveland’s secondary rotation behind starters Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome II. That void was filled, in part, by rookie cornerback Martin Emerson Jr. The 2022 third-round selection played 42 defensive snaps Sunday against the Panthers and was on the field for nine special teams plays.

Emerson’s role is likely to remain significant in the Browns’ home opener next Sunday against the New York Jets.

Browns Defense Showed Ability to Carry Cleveland in QB Deshaun Watson’s Absence

Myles Garrett, Browns

GettyDefensive end Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns reacts after sacking QB Baker Mayfield of the Carolina Panthers during the third quarter of a game at Bank of America Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

As they did against the Panthers, the Browns will need to rely heavily on their defense against the Jets and opponents beyond, as they attempt to remain relevant in the AFC playoff chase while starting quarterback Deshaun Watson serves an 11-game suspension.

Cleveland’s win Sunday was far from pretty, but it was effective. Pass rusher Myles Garrett led the way with two sacks of his former teammate Mayfield. The Browns held the Panthers to 261 total yards of offense, per ESPN.

The secondary gave up a handful of big plays at inopportune times, including a 75-yard touchdown strike to receiver Robbie Anderson. Pressure from Garrett and company up front will be crucial in protecting the Browns defensive backs against big plays as the season progresses.

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