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Positional breakdown of today’s game, including how to replace Cribbs: “With Cribbs out, I read an article in the Plain Dealer that it would remove about 20 plays from the playbook that Brian Daboll has handy to use that involves either the Wildcat or the trick/end-around type plays. Later in the article, it was noted that the Browns could try to use Seneca Wallace in the role Cribbs fulfilled. It’s an interesting thought, because on certain run plays, Cribbs is just used as a decoy. However, you lose any threat of Wallace throwing a serious block. You also gain the threat of him having the ball in his hands and throwing it. If not Wallace, then what about Carlton Mitchell? First off, I’m not sure the Jaguars’ coaching staff has focused much of their attention on him. Second, Mitchell was the recipient of several end-arounds in the preseason, so the staff must like utilizing him in that formation. Mitchell wouldn’t line up from Wildcat, but the Browns could find ways to not completely chuck the “Cribbs” section of the playbook.” [Chris Pokorny/Dawgs by Nature]
OBR Keys to the game: “The Jaguars aren’t an explosive offensive team and their defense hasn’t shown a killer instinct to put teams away. That plays into the plan of the Browns — stick around long enough to win games late. Rookie QB Colt McCoy has a 99.8 passer rating in the fourth quarter but won’t take many risks, even against a lackluster pass rush, because of his limited supporting cast. The Browns need takeaways — Jacksonville is minus-6 in that category — but Jaguars QB David Garrard has been nearly flawless with a 153.4 rating and no turnovers in the past two games. There could be more room to run for Maurice Jones-Drew, who has back-to-back 100-yard games, with ILB Scott Fujita out.” [The OBR]
Everybody loves Colt: “Colt McCoy of the Browns and Troy Smith of the 49ers were supposed to be third-string quarterbacks this season, given a uniform, a headset and a clipboard. But third-stringers are doing better than many of the backups. McCoy, the Browns’ third-round choice, just came out of a four-game stretch in which he faced the Steelers, Saints, Patriots and Jets. Against those four playoff-caliber teams, which have combined records of 26-10, McCoy was 2-2. He completed 64.6 percent of his passes and had an impressive 85.2 quarterback rating. According to ESPN Stats & Information, McCoy has been the master of passes between 11 and 20 yards. He’s completing 72 percent of those throws and is second only to Vick with a 127.5 quarterback rating on those passes.” [John Clayton/ESPN]
Browns LBs having success: “A guess is that Scott Fujita will be out a month with a knee injury. He probably has been the defensive MVP this season, clearly the leader of the unit. David Bowens and Jason Trusnik will fill in for Fujita, and they were effective last season. Marcus Benard (5.5 sacks) will see more action…Profootballfocus.com has a complex rating system for linebackers ‘pressuring the quarterbacks.’ Not sure how it all works, but they rate four Browns in the Top 15 — Fujita, Benard, Matt Roth and Chris Gocong. Remember, this isn’t pure sack totals, it’s bringing pressure on the passer. They wrote: ‘Part of why the Browns are a team nobody wants to face is the pressure they get with linebackers moving all over the place … this unit is making life extremely difficult for teams.’” [Terry Pluto/Plain Dealer]
More on those Browns WRs: “Disappearing act: But to go on a winning streak, the Browns need to get more production from their receivers. Former second-round picks Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie have been huge disappointments in their second season. The pair has combined for only 24 receptions for 262 yards in nine games. Cleveland’s leading receivers are tight end Ben Watson (36 catches) and running back Peyton Hillis (34 catches), both of whom have more catches than Robiskie and Massaquoi combined. Cleveland might want to consider using athletic backup tight end Evan Moore more frequently in the offense. Wide receiver is a major position of need for the Browns next offseason.” [James Walker/AFC North Blog]