- The Browns held the Steelers and all world running back Le’Veon Bell to just 35 yards rushing last week. The Ravens only threw the ball three times in the second half against Cincinnati last week in a 20-0 victory over the offensively challenged Bengals. QB Joe Flacco only completed one pass of more than 10 yards. Something will have to give. Are the Browns as good against the run as they showed? If so, they could make it a long day for the Ravens offense.
- Flacco threw just 17 times last week but is notorious for destroying the Browns. Last season he threw for nearly 600 yards and five touchdowns in two games.
- DeShone Kizer looked very solid last week against a really good Pittsburgh front seven. He will have to be even better today against the Ravens defense which has excellent linebackers. Terrell Suggs seems to be an ageless wonder and CJ Mosley is really coming into his own as an NFL player. Along with youngsters Kamalei Correa and Patrick Onwuasor they are deep and instinctive. The Ravens linebackers all read play action extremely well and also get their hands up quick when rushing which can force even the veteran quarterbacks of the league to throw nearly a handful of interceptions (looking at you Andy Dalton).
- The Ravens secondary is also very good. It’s a veteran mix that will prove to be a challenge for the Browns young wide outs. Safeties Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle are extremely talented ball hawks who can also tackle.
- Cleveland will have seven wide outs dressed for Sunday’s game after bringing Rashard Higgins up from the practice squad. The Ravens will have only a few corners healthy for the game with Jaylen Hill and Sheldon Price both ruled out. That leaves talented corners Brandon Carr, Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey, and nickel back Ladarius Webb as the only healthy corners. Maybe by adding Higgins the Browns are hoping to beat the talented secondary by using fresh men on a consistent basis against an undermanned unit.
- While they may try to use their depth to win in the passing game, it’ll be the running game they determines whether or not the Browns win this game. Isaiah Crowell carries 17 times last week for just 33 yards and looked hesitant at the line of scrimmage. The Browns and especially Kizer will need him to be more decisive. If the line opens holes for him, he needs to stick his foot in the ground and go. They can’t win this game without a solid contribution from Crowell.
- The play above accounted for a loss of yards. That is a huge hole to run through by NFL standards.
- Kenny Britt’s drop on second and 19 last week may have cost the Browns the game. Yes, there were other factors that contributed to the loss, I get that. On the play before Britt’s drop, Browns center JC Tretter was destroyed by Steelers defensive linemen Javon Hargrave who pushed Tretter back like he was on roller skates for a sack of Kizer and a nine yard loss. On the next play, the rookie QB moved forward in the pocket, went through his progressions, and found a wide open Britt near the first down marker only to see his vet wide out drop it. Drops are a part of the game but that play needs to be made. All the momentum was trending in the Browns direction and that hurt.
- The Browns are a much improved team all around. They proved that last week. In order to beat this Ravens team they will have to shut down the run game and keep veteran wide outs Mike Wallace and Jeremy Marlin from making big plays. Look for Greg Williams to use a similar strategy to what he used last week against the Steelers where he sent his safeties back 20-25 yards from the line of scrimmage to keep the corners from getting beat deep. The game plan all but nullified deep threat Martavis Bryant last week.
- While I think the Browns have an excellent chance at winning this game, there is just as good a chance that they get blown out. The Baltimore defense is really talented. The linebackers look like they can give a rookie QB nightmares whether they are hitting him or knocking his passes around to cause turnovers. Kizer will have to take what the defense gives him which means Duke Johnson could be the key to a win with Kizer completing dump-off passes to the Swiss Army knife out of Miami. If Duke can break one or two, flip the field, it would go a long way to helping his QB and team.
- With all things considered I think the Browns will play well, but fall short in a 16-13 loss in Baltimore.
- Fantasy guys to have in this game: Duke in PPR leagues. Corey Coleman and Kizer have a connection and he will likely lead the Browns in targets. He could be a high WR3. You could also run out Maclin or Wallace in deep leagues as WR3 or flex. Javorious Allen is the Ravens version of Duke and also gets carries out of the backfield, he could be a deep flex guy. The real wildcard here is Flacco, who always kills the Browns. He’s a risk due to his back, but could be high reward if you roll with him.
- Pictures in this article courtesy of the NFL, CBS, and NFL Gamepass app.
The Cleveland Browns released wide receiver and fan favorite Andrew Hawkins on Monday. The move comes after the veteran reciever asked the team for his release so that he could move on and possibly get a championship before his career ends.
At 30-years-old, Hawkins served as a mentor for the young players on the Browns roster and was an all around great guy on and off of the field. Over three seasons Hawkins started 28 games and brought in 123 catches for 1424 yards and five touchdowns.
In typical Hawkins fashion, he left an extremely classy message to the fans and the organization on UNINTERRUPTED‘s twitter feed, “As of today, I am officially a former Cleveland Brown. Flew to Cleveland last week, met with the team. It was a tough call, but at the end of the day, just felt it was in the best interest of all that we move on.”
Browns head coach Hue Jackson also weighed in on the termination of Hawkins’ contract in a statement released by the team;
It’s tough to say goodbye to men like Hawk, that have done everything you’ve asked of them and gone above and beyond when it comes to leadership. Hawk was a rock for us last season.He kept our locker room together and led by example as he gave everything he had on the field.Our young players are going to be better players and better people because of the time they spent with Andrew Hawkins.
The loss of Hawkins leaves the Browns extremely young at the wide receiver position with second-year guys Corey Coleman, Rashard Higgins, Jordan Payton, and Ricardo Louis as the only pass catchers currently signed to the roster as the team attempts to bring back Terrelle Pryor this offseason.
The Cleveland Browns have hired former Rams defensive coordinator Greg Williams to the same position.
The hiring of Williams marks the end to the second, very short, tour of duty for outgoing Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Horton has now been fired by the Browns twice in four seasons, both times after one season.
Williams, who was fired after the season by LA, led a defense with the Rams that was ranked ninth in yards and 23rd in points allowed. The Browns defense, filled with youth, finished the 2016 season giving up the third most yards and second most points in the league.
While he is best known for his role in the bounty gate scandal while with the Saints, Williams is a leader of men and expects greatness on the field from his defense.
Browns head coach echoed those sentiments in his first words after the hiring, “We are thrilled that Gregg Williams is joining our staff as defensive coordinator,” Browns head coach Hue Jackson said in a statement. “Gregg has been an outstanding defensive coach in this league for a very long time. His defenses have frequently finished among the top ten in the league. He adapts his scheme to maximize the strengths of his personnel and has always been able to get the most out of his players. We look forward to him coming in, helping our players improve and helping us become the winning team we are all working towards.”