The Browns Will Win If…

IT’S CLEVELAND AND MIAMI!! RAWWRR!! Oh, wait, that was last night. Well, here we are at 4-7, coming off a “wow, how did they not lose that game?” performance in the second half last Sunday against the Panthers. I’ve almost run out of witty things to say about this Browns team, as the injuries seem to have sucked some of the starch out of their shirts. So, I’ma let Scott give you the set up. Tune in to WKNR during the 11 AM hour on Friday and let his dulcet tones sooth your “I hate Miami!” soul after last night’s re-ripping-open of the wound.


First and foremost, how angry does that Dolphin look? I mean, man. I thought Snowflake in Ace Ventura was a nice, happy dolphin. As Lenny in The Simpsons once said, they’re the clowns of the sea! I digress… It won’t do much, but the Browns—far and away now the Kings of Cleveland—have the chance to salvage a little municipal dignity against Miami, though they must go on the road to do it. The Dolphins are 6-5 also-rans in the tough AFC East, but don’t look much different than the Browns in many ways. Avg. points per game: CLE – 19.6, MIA – 18.6. Avg. points allowed per game: CLE – 20.8, MIA – 20.5.  Miami holds a slight edge in all offensive and defensive stats except for rushing yards per game, where the Browns have the slight advantage. In the battle of dueling QB carousels, Miami goes to Chad Henne again, and the Browns continue with Back-Foot Delhomme. The Browns are 1-4 on the road, but the one other strange thing in the Browns favor? Miami is only 1-4 at home this year. Phew. Without further ado…

The Browns Will Win If…

Craig: …Jake Delhomme takes care of the ball on offense.  I really like the Browns’ chances stopping the Dolphins offense.  Chad Henne is playing again this week and he certainly has a decent amount of weapons from Ronnie Browns and Ricky Williams to Brandon Marshall.  Still, the Browns’ defense should be up to the challenge.  I am really only concerned about the Browns’ offense taking care of the ball and putting up enough points to give the team a chance to win.

Scott: …they figure out how to play on the road. Being one-four on the road and playing against a team with big play ability does not bode well for a team that is now trying to get off of a two game losing streak. Good news is that assuming Mangini and Daboll run the Wildcat in practice, the current Browns defense should be well aware of how to stop it. Also in their corner is the fact that Brandon Marshall may be hobbled by his hamstring injury, and linebacker Matt Roth is a former member of the Dolphins, and should be well aware how they scheme on the defensive side. Also Miami may be one of the only teams in the NFL with a quarterback situation in a bigger state of flux than Cleveland. The Browns will need to get back to playing smart football, limit the turnovers, and consider tackling. The game is completely winnable as long as the Browns don’t play down to the level of their opponent.

DP: …they don’t turn the ball over. Miami’s defense has been great against the run of late, including holding the Raiders’ solid running game to just 16 yards of rushing last week. The Browns’ bread and butter on offense is Peyton Hillis, and if the Dolphins slow him down or even take him away like Jacksonville did, it’s going to fall on the shoulders of Jake Delhomme. And that makes me want to vomit. If we can get the nice throws to the wide receivers that we got last week without the disgusting telegraphed pick-six passes, that would go a long way toward helping the Browns score some points. On defense, the Browns would catch a big break if Brandon Marshall doesn’t play or is slowed down by his hamstring. Or, if he continues to play like he doesn’t care. The Browns have looked like the injuries to guys like Wright and Fujita on defense have been hurting them more than we’d hoped the past two weeks, when they just couldn’t make stops when needed against average offenses. That trend will tell us early how things are going, I suspect. The Dolphins are averaging just 105 yards on the ground this year, but then again, the Panthers were averaging under 100, and went off for 151 last week. I guess for me, it comes down to this: STOP LOCKING ON TO YOUR RECEIVERS AND THROWING OFF YOUR BACK FOOT, JAKE!

Rick: …they can control the ball and clock. It’s no big secret this team isn’t good enough to overcome a turnover differential against quality teams. They must protect the ball without reverting to a 1970’s playbook. Defensively they have to do a better job at bringing down a ball carrier. Mangini stated over and over in his talks this week that they were addressing the tackling issue. I hope addressed equals fixed. I am excited to see the Joe Haden progress. Last week he covered Steve Smith one on one several times, and did a great job. With Eric Wright still out apparently, Haden will again get his shot to cover a big time WR. This week it’s Brandon Marshall. We shall see if those reports from last spring about Haden’s speed being sub-par (ha!) have any validity.

Andrew: …uh, if Matt Roth treats the Miami Dolphins in his return to Miami like LeBron James treated the Cleveland Cavaliers in his return to Cleveland? I mean, I’m not exactly sure how I’m supposed to establish a way the Browns win a game in which Jake Delhomme is the starting QB, but I guess I can try. The key for the Browns, of course, is to simply not let Jake Delhomme even try to be a factor in this game. Miami is 4th in the NFL in pass defense, so it would be foolish to even attempt to beat the Dolphins through the air. The Dolphins struggle much more with stopping the run, and it will be up to Brian Daboll to not fall into the same trap as last game of consistently calling play sequences which puts the Browns in obvious passing situations. Yes, you can be creative with the play calling, just don’t get cute with it. Utilize Peyton Hillis, call safe pass plays with are TE heavy, and try to win with a game Woody Hayes would be proud of. I hate being so down on Delhomme because I really like the guy, but I just don’t trust him anymore after last game.

TD: …Jake Delhomme doesn’t throw any bad interceptions and Peyton Hillis runs the ball like…well, um….Peyton Hillis, the Browns should have a decent day in Miami.


Now, for the other side of the coin. We reached out to the guys at PhinPhanatic, and senior writer Patrik Nohe came through with the knowledge. PhinPhanatic is one of the oldest blogs on FanSided, he’ll have you know. Without further ado…

The Dolphins Will Win If…

…they execute. That sounds entirely too simple but anyone who has watched these Dolphins play know that execution has been one of their biggest problems. So far on the season the defense has been inconsistent, the offense can’t score touchdowns and after entering the season with playoff expectations, the fans are about to have a meltdown. To say things haven’t gone according to plan is an understatement.

A lot has been made of the “poor” play-calling by offensive coordinator Dan Henning. While Henning certainly hasn’t turned in a good performance coaching this season, it’s naive to think that he alone has been responsible for the Dolphins’ problems. Last season Miami had the number four rushing attack in all of football. This season they haven’t had a player go over 100 yards. A lot of the components are still the same and though the play-calling breakdown favors the pass over the run, a huge part of the problem has been simple execution.

This team can’t get out of its own way, it commits too many penalties, mental errors and leaves far too many plays on the field to be successful as an offense. If you put them in a situation where they have to march the whole length of the field, they really haven’t demonstrated the ability to consistently string together enough plays to score a touchdown. They’ll stall out on a dropped pass, a sack, a fumbled snap or some kind of ridiculous penalty. If Miami wants to win against an underrated Browns squad they need simplify things, focus and execute. This isn’t a bad offense, it’s an offense that hasn’t clicked. Miami needs to cut out all of the sneaky, complicated stuff and focus on their strengths. Run the ball between the tackles, throw off the play-fake and take advantage of the mismatches that present themselves.  In short, don’t out-think yourselves, just go out and beat the man in front of you.

Defensively Miami needs to cue on Peyton Hillis and the run game and force Cleveland to throw in order to beat them. A lot of that is going to come down to maintaining responsibilities, not playing out of position but more importantly, tackling.  The Dolphins tend to ebb and flow as a tackling team. Some weeks the defense looks focused and they have no problem with their tackling, other days it’s like watching the JV team try to tackle varsity. Miami needs to play to their responsibilities and make sure to wrap up, a ball-carrier like Hillis thrives running through arm tackles and bad attempts. As long as they play smart and execute they should be fine.


What say, there, fuzzy britches?

  • ben

    the Browns will win if no one on the roster give LeBron James a hug.

  • Chris

    First of all, thank you very much to Cribbs and Kosar for showing up and showing support for the Cavs and the city of Cleveland. That was really cool.

    Secondly: Brownies, your city could really use a win (esp a win vs Miami) right about now!

  • Chris

    Oh by the way, Peyton Hillis stands a serious chance of becoming a 1,000 yard rusher today.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    Does it even need to be said?

    The Browns will win if Jake doesn’t throw a 2 to 3 picks, one of them being a pick 6.

    This team is good enough to win this game if they don’t shoot themselves in the feet.

  • Chris

    Wow. I’m very distracted right now. Sorry about the idiocy and the ensuing triple post to apologize for the idiocy.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    It’s like a high school football coach recently told me about his team…

    “We’re really quick on the draw. The only problem is that once the pistol is out of the holster, we don’t aim very far from our feet.”

  • Mark

    Like all the others before me, Jake is the key. No idiotic interceptions, run the ball well and tackle on D and we should win.

  • Garry Owen

    The Browns are taking their talents to South Beach. Good thing they’re bringing them back, else we’d have nothing.

  • Narm

    HUGE Dolphins fan here. Please don’t hold it against me. I hate all other Miami teams as well as Miami fans. I’ve watched every Phins AND Browns game this year.

    Few things – we have a new DC since Roth left so he won’t be much help. The Wildcat is nearly dead in Miami but good point about Cribbs running it in practice.

    Chad Henne has had 6-7 picks this year that weren’t really his fault – whether they were tipped or desperation 4th down or one in PITT that bounced off the ground but the refs didn’t review because there was only a minute left.

    He is playing better than getting credit for – but he very much struggles against zones. I expect Rob Ryan to force him into a few mistakes.

    Our run D swallows up quicker backs because our CBs and S tackle well – but our LB don’t set the edge well. Hillis should have a big day as the smaller secondary players won’t be able to take him down.

    Our corners are very good and I expect them to shut down your WRs. We struggle with TEs and with Dansby (our best ILB) having an injury to his hand I would exept Watson and Moore to have big days.

    Jake Long has a significant injury and playing poor because of it – so if he gets beat a few times don’t get too excited about the Thomas vs Long arguments.

    Miami is VERY succeptible to the big play. I expect Ryan to scheme our offense out of the game and your O and ST to come up with enough big plays to pull out the win.

    Too bad LeBron can’t suit up for the Heat just for one game – love to see TJ Ward meet him over the middle.

    Good luck Sunday!

  • b

    I am in Miami for a family vacation (planned specifically to attend the Browns game). I went to the grocery store in a K2 jersey, figuring it’s a win-win as he is a legendary solider in these parts. Someone stops me in the store and asks if I’m a Browns fan. Who is this person? None other than Ray Ventrone’s great-uncle, who lives down here. I did not have the heart to tell him what you guys (and I) think about his play in the secondary, but told him that he is a heckuva special teams player. Nice guy, we chatted for a couple minutes on all things football.

  • Robbie

    Just got off the phone with Romeo. He says, “The team that scores the most points will win this game.” Hehe…I LOVE that guy!!! Seriously, though, the Browns will win if they show-up to play like they did against the Saints-Jets games. It’s that simple.

  • BAJ22

    Narm, great post! Had to LOL about Ward meeting Lebron over the middle!! Should be a good game no matter who wins. Hope both teams play well and may the best team win.

  • Lyon

    B… too bad u didn’t have the core 4 T

  • Omar’s Magic Glove

    @ 6…HAHAHAHA! That’s funny.

    The biggest advantage Miami has in this game over the Browns, like most teams, is the Wide Receivers. Marshall, Bess, and Hartline will be very tough covers for the Cleveland secondary, especially, dare I say, if Wright doesn’t play. As well as Miami’s running backs destroying us with screen passes. Also, The O-line must step up to give Jake time to throw. Miami has the #2 sack leader in the league right now at line backer, Cameron Wake. If the “turn-style” is starting, Wake may be blasting around him on each play making Delhomme look pitiful. I hope for large doses of Hillis and Evan Moore on offense.

  • mgbode

    Narm – great points, but I disagree on a couple of them.

    1. Henne has had a couple good games, but he has really, really struggled this year. The reason he was finally benched for Pennington was because he doesn’t seem capable at reading defenses and setting the offense up to be in a position for success. If he’s audibling at the LOS, then he does a poor job as I’ve seen him on many occasions run right into the teeth of the defense even when they are stacked to that side.

    2. Yeremiah Bell is a fantastic tackler (as you mentioned). But I’ll go further. He is one of the best in the NFL and I am very much looking forward to Bell vs. Hillis. He may not be the biggest guy Hillis will face, but he’s definitely one of the toughest and could pose a big problem for the Browns.

    Oh, and is there anything definitive you’ve seen on Marshall? I keep reading conflicting reports on his health for this week.

  • DP

    mgbode, the last I read before I started writing this morning was that he “might not play” because of the hammie. Don’t know much else, and have been pretty busy today and haven’t checked up on it.

  • humboldt

    B – what a great story. Reminds me of when I ran into Jimmy Warfield’s (former Indians trainer) brother at a dive bar in Pennsylvania. That guy had some stories to tell about the Indians of the 90s. Wow

  • Narm

    MGBODE – I’ll agree Henne hasn’t been overly successful, but our OC has been incredibly inept this year. We’ve called for play action on 3rd and 10+ on 7 different occasions this year. He constantly calls for play fakes and a good portion of our pass plays have only 2-3 routes. I believe we are 2nd last in the NFL in routes per pass play. The knock on Henne coming out was that he locked on to his target and when there are only 2 routes (with the third normally a delayed release from the back or TE) it only gives him two places to go to set up the defense.

    We almost always play for the field goal. When we hit the red zone you’ll suddenly see WildCat on first and second down and then they ask Henne to come in and bail them out. That and we almost always run a reverse when we get inside the 40.

    As for Bell – he’s been horrible in pass coverage this year but is still great against the run. It’ll be a good match-up with he and Hillis.

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