The Browns Will Win If…

The Bye Week is on the horizon. The Browns are really banged up. Colt McCoy is getting his second straight start, this week against the Super Bowl Champs. The “new” Browns actually have a winning record against the Saints, including their first win as an expansion team in 1999, and a convincing win in 2002. The Saints won the last matchup on opening day in 2006.


The Saints’ offense has the potential to be destructive to a weak secondary such as the one the Browns have been trotting out. Drew Brees plays QB at a level the Browns haven’t really yet seen this year. The Browns have question marks at WR—moreso—and are giving Colt McCoy his second straight start. Without further ado…

The Browns Will Win If…

Craig: …they can run all over the Saints.  The Saints seem to have found their offensive stride a week ago against the Buccaneers.  They ran for over 150 yards and had three passing touchdowns.  The Browns are going to have to limit the big play from the Saints and also control the clock with their running game if they have any hopes of winning.  Considering they put Pashos on the IR, it might turn out to be a difficult request.  Hopefully Peyton Hillis is healthy and ready to go. The Browns are going to need him this week more than any other week so far this season.

Scott: …the pass defense plays out of their minds.  Eric Wright, Sheldon Brown and Joe Haden will have their hands full this week.  With the Brees spread-the-ball-around offense, the Browns cannot afford to double-team many receiving options.  Unfortunately, I think this is going to lead to a lot of scheme-based zone blitzes and if they are not effective right out of the gate, it could be a long, long day.  Losing Robaire Smith could prove costly in this regard – it will be interesting to see how much play Shaun Rogers gets at the end.  On the offensive side of things, while New Orleans’ defensive backfield is a bit banged up, I think the Browns will provide the same sort of attack as last week – perhaps with few new plays thanks to another week of work with the “ones.”  They’ll have to be physical on offense, providing a lot of Hillis, Vickers and Mike Bell in the backfield.  I actually expect really good things from Chansi Stuckey this week, so here’s hoping he doesn’t let me down.  But in the end, it’s going to come down to the defense.  A few caused turnovers can turn this one right around.

DP: …they can—stop me if you’ve heard this before—run the ball, control the clock, minimize mistakes, and play good enough defense to win. That last one is going to be tough, because the Browns’ much-maligned secondary is going to get its toughest test of the season to this point, in my opinion. If the Browns can run the ball and protect Colt McCoy enough to let some of the short and intermediate routes he was hitting last week open up, they should be able to move the ball. But, they have to score points. They can’t shoot themselves in the foot with penalties and turnovers. On defense, the line needs to get some push, and they need to get some non-blitz pressure on Drew Brees, otherwise he will pick them apart. I don’t know if the Browns can make that happen, sadly.

Rick: …the defense has the game of their lives. Particularly the secondary. These wide outs are the best we’ve seen this season, and Brees is the best QB we’ve seen this year as well. The Browns could manage to scheme some pressure this week as the Saints like to send 4 and 5 out in the pattern. Maybe if they can get to Brees early they have a shot? The offense should find things a little easier this week than last, but that is assuming that they get at least Cribbs back. With or without him they will again need to pound Hillis. Colt needs to take care of the ball limiting New Orleans’ opportunities.

Andrew: …the Browns secondary plays their best game of the season by far. By no means has Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense been the same efficient monster it was last season, but the Saints still have tons of capable receivers and Brees loves spreading the ball around to all of them. Last week in their 31-6 dismantling of the Buccaneers in Tampa, 10 different New Orleans players had receptions with Meachem leading the way with just 4 catches. In other words, if you give Brees even the slightest opening, he will find the receiver no matter how low in the progression his read is. The Browns pass coverage has been disastrous this year, and they will arguably face no bigger test than this week in New Orleans. If the Browns can stick with the NO WR’s and not let Chris Ivory go off like he did last week, I believe the Browns can have some success throwing on the Saints and have a chance in this game. The Saints love to blitz and blitz often, which can sometimes leave them exposed to passes to the TEs. If McCoy can build on the poise he showed last week and hit his TEs and Peyton Hillis out of the backfield, it will probably give the Browns their best chance of success this week.

TD: …a bolt of lightning strikes Drew Brees and he is unable to go and that same bolt turns Colt McCoy into Drew Brees, then we’ve got a great shot. Simple and plain. In all seriousness, McCoy needs to do what he did in Pittsburgh, stay calm and minimize the mistakes. A healthy dose of Peyton Hillis should also be in the works. Defensively, I don’t know how they will be able to slow Brees and company, but it has to be with front four pressure. He’ll kill the Rob Ryan blitzes.


What say, there, fuzzy britches?

  • DC

    All these years I thought that the warden was saying FUSSY britches. A quick check with IMDB and you are correct.

    It really is true that you learn something new every day, it just may not be what you expected to learn when you woke up that morning.

  • Mark

    This is a really, really bad match up for us. Their offense is going to kill us. You have to get pressure on Bress with your front 4 and we can’t do that. If we blitz (and we will) he will kill us with big plays. If we don’t blitz he will stand back there all day and pick us apart. Nice choices right.

    Run the ball extreamly well, short passing game, big plays out of the special teams. That’s the only way.

    This will be our worst loss of the year. Ugh.

  • boogeyman

    Like Mark said control the ball and the clock by running and using short passing (all the Browns have) plays to keep the Saints offense off the field. Based on the first five games of the season I don’t see this happening enough to get the win but you never know. I don’t think it’ll be the Browns worst loss but it should be another loss all the same.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    If the defense plays the best game of the season, if we are +2 or more in turnovers, if Hillis can go for 100+ and keep Brees off the field, and if McCoy plays like he did last week, we have a chance.

    Even if all that happens, I don’t know if it will be enough. Love the Browns and always will, but we are bringing a knife to a gunfight this week…

  • mgbode

    Let’s look at the numbers. Rule of thumb is to take the average of the 2 numbers to figure out what to expect.

    NO Run defense #10 @ 3.9YPC
    CLE Run offense #24 @3.8YPC

    NO Pass defense #10 @ 6.6YPA (yards per attempt)
    CLE Pass offense #15 @ 6.8YPA

    NO Run offense #18 @4.0YPC
    CLE Run defense #12 @4.0YPC

    NO Pass offense #12 @ 7.2 YPA
    CLE Pass defense #30 @ 8.0 YPA

    ***Note no the last matchup*** Obviously, this is the biggest issue.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I would have never guessed that we are #24 in rushing and #15 in passing in the league. Seems like that should be switched around. Defense is about what I figured, though…

  • mgbode

    @Buckeye – it’s because I used ‘per play’ metrics.

    really, I would need some help from Jon here to figure out a real metric that combined yards per play with total yards and factor in a bunch of other things (down and distance used, etc.) but for simplicity, I still much prefer yards per play.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    This is not meant to sound snarky, but if Texas Chainsaw and Cribbs can’t play, who is on the Browns receiver depth chart?

    1. Stuckey
    2. Robiskie
    3. ???
    4. ???

    With Cribbs’ concussion, I doubt we’ll see the wildcat package at all. That means that if disaster strikes, and Colt and Ratliff both get hurt (shudders)…

    I’m worried Dawson might end up strapping on a helmet to take some snaps. What’s Vinny Testeverde up to these days?

  • Tommy

    WR Depth chart for this week I think looks like this

    1. Cribbs
    2. Robiskie
    3. Stuckey
    4. Carlton Mitchell
    5. Yamon Figurs (Signed when Pashos and Smith were put on IR)

  • B-bo

    I don’t know how crazy I am about Cribbs playing already this week. I’d rather let him rest through the bye to be safe. Word is Mangini is impressed with what Carlton Mitchell has shown lately, though I believe that was the stock response to questions about Robiskie throughout 2009.

    By the way, Testaverde is currently the QB coach at the school where I teach. He doesn’t appear any worse off than Brett Favre these days, and New Orleans isn’t far from here, so if need be…

  • GhostToMost

    The Saints are not the same team from last year. I dont know why, but I smell an upset. Browns 23-20, Colt McCoy gets elected mayor of Cleveland.

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