After stalling out on the runway, the Browns’ 2011 season gets another shot to get airborne this Sunday in Indianapolis, where the Colts are in an unfamiliar place: Peyton-less. Who’d have ever thought the Browns would have the edge in the “Peyton” column of the stat-sheet when going in to play the Colts??
Well, if you watched a lot of football last weekend, this might appear to be two of the worst week 1 teams squaring off. The Colts struggled through Kerry Collins’ Indy debut, and the Browns looked abysmal in the first quarter, decent in the second, and confused in the third and fourth. Beaten by a brain fart on defense, the Browns will look to avenge that slip-up against a Colts team that couldn’t even barely move the ball against Houston. Conversely, the Texans scored almost at will against the Colts’ defense, and that defense is missing captain Gary Brackett. Could there be some room to work for Colt, Peyton, and company? Let’s hope so. Without further ado…
The Browns Will Win If…
Editor’s note: This year, we will be publishing select portions of our BWWI over at Cleveland.com. For Scott and Kirk’s takes, please head over to Still WFNY. We have also invited Daniel Wolf from National Football Authority to contribute to our weekly post. If you haven’t already, check out his website and twitter for Browns news and info. Take it away, Daniel…
Daniel Wolf : … they have a short memory. Losing the way they did against the Bengals in Week 1 can linger in the back of players’ minds and Pat Shumur and the coaching staff need to get the team re-focused on the Peyton Manning-less Colts. At times against the Bengals, the Browns were running the ball well, but then the running game was abandoned in the second half. They have both Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty and need to get the ball into their hands more. If one isn’t breaking through the line, bring in the other. The West Coast offense is supposed to be a pass first offense, but unless another wide receiver not named Massaquoi can step up, once again the team will need to leaning on it’s running game instead.
Or how about using tight ends Ben Watson and Evan Moore in the same way that the Patriots used their tight ends on Monday Night Football? If a Browns receiver cannot step up, then use Watson and Moore. The Pats can do it successfully so why can’t the Browns? One thing is certain though: if the Browns lose in Week 2, then major changes are needed to the depth chart or game planning.
Craig: …they can run the ball all day in the dome. I still don’t believe that an offense that features Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon, and Dallas Clark can be shut down. The Browns aren’t the Texans on defense either, by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, Kerry Collins looked bad, but so did the Colts offensive line that will be relieved to see the Browns defense instead of Mario Williams and company. As a result, the Browns will have to run the ball on a defense not featuring middle linebacker Gary Brackett. Running the ball successfully will also take Dwight Freeney and his pass-rushing cohorts out of the game for the most part. That sounds like success to me.
Rick: …they resemble the team from the second quarter last week and not the other three. Can’t shoot yourself in the foot with penalties and expect to win on the road. They need a more balanced offensive attack, utilizing Hillis and Hardesty more in the running game. They have to keep Freeney out of the backfield too. If they can have success running the ball the offense should be much better this week. Defensively, you have to be frightened of Dallas Clark. The Browns struggle to cover TEs and he is one of the best.
DP: …they run the ball a bit more. The Texans ran for 167 yards at 4.1 yards per crack against this defense last week, and the Colts don’t have Gary Brackett. What better way to ensure not losing on a defensive pre-snap lapse than by keeping the other team’s offense off the field? In all seriousness, if the Browns can mix in more running to eat up some clock and wear down the opposing defense, it would go a long way toward winning this game. On the other side, if the interior defensive line can again play well and force Kerry Collins into some mistakes, those mistakes are there to be had. See: last week. Finally, having a healthy punter… who knew it was so important? If the Browns can turn the tables on the field position battle from last week, it will certainly help as well. Honestly, at the end of the day, the Browns can win if they screw their heads on straight this week.
Andrew …they establish their running game. Indianapolis is not going to be known as one of the better rush defenses in the NFL this year. Last week, the Browns fell behind early and never seemed to really get their running game going. This week, I hope to see more Hillis and more Hardesty. The Browns need to commit to the run more, because the Browns simply do not have the WRs to lean on to be a pass first team. The Colts will not play as bad as they did last week, everyone knows this. The Colts still have some weapons on offense, and the Browns’ defense is going to have to play better than they did against Andy Dalton last week. This could be another game like last week where everyone seems to expect the Browns to roll, but their opponent might be tougher than most give them credit for. This is why the Browns must establish their identity as a running team. That’s where the talent is on offense, so use it.
TD …they step up, and they run the ball. I don’t think things could possibly get worse than last week. Lets hope not at least. Its time for the Browns to step up. I know it’s week two, but the Bengals loss was a serious let down for the team and the fans. You just flat out cannot lose that game. But you did, and now you need to man up and take care of business on the road this week. For the Browns to take this one in Indy, you have to heavily feature the run, especially considering the issues with the line in terms of pass blocking. Couple that with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis coming off the edges and we better see a lot of Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty. Defensively, pressure on Kerry Collins is a must. The gray-beard looked like he had just gotten off the couch into back into the NFL last week (because he did) against Houston. You cannot let him sit back and the pocket and get comfortable, because he is a savvy veteran who can get on a role if he has the time.
What say, there, fuzzy britches?