April 23, 2014

Week 2: The Browns Will Win If…

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??

brownscolts

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.

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What say, there, fuzzy britches?

  • madskis219

    …if they show up.

  • RyInCBus

    Run To The Hillis! Don’t get too cute on offense. 3 yards and a cloud of Fieldturf will turn into 8 or 9 yards and a battered and bruised Colts Defense by the 3rd quarter. It is imperative that we don’t make mental mistakes and fall bahind early by giving the Colts good field position. If they score first and we have to come from behind, we will be playing right into their hands.

    Aside from establishing the run, focus on quick decisive passes designed to get the ball out quick and beat the pass rush. Also, as some have stated, don’t be afraid to use the Tight Ends the way New England uses theirs. Avoid turnovers and penalties and this is a pretty straight-forward plan of attack.

    On Defense, take away Dallas Clark and the running game and force Collins to beat you through the air. Dick Jauron has to dial up more blitz packages to rattle Collins more than he did to the rookie QB Andy Dalton in Week One. Whoda thunkit?

  • Jack

    “The Pats can do it successfully so why can’t the Browns?”

    Giggle.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Can we change the name of the thread to “The Browns MIGHT win if…”?

    Because honestly, they could do every single thing that a team should do to win a game, and still end up losing somehow.

    They should win if they can establish the run, don’t turn the ball over, and the defense plays to their capability. Should…

  • mgbode

    I’m sensing a consensus:

    Daniel Wolf : … the team will need to leaning on it’s running game

    Craig: …they can run the ball all day in the dome

    Rick: …utilizing Hillis and Hardesty more in the running game.

    DP: …they run the ball a bit more

    Andrew …they establish their running game

    TD …they step up, and they run the ball

  • http://twitter.com/lilOUmikey lilOUmikey

    Agree with everyone so far regarding the run. We need to run it down their throats and make their ailing linebackers hate life. Keep Mo and Peyton fresh and get both of them in a rhythm. Last season, Peyton got better as games went on. He NEEDS to get going early in order to close the game out late.

    This is a game where Colt just needs to manage the game ala last year in the Bayou. He should get some good looks from PA passes if we get running early.

    Defense: Just pressure Kerry Collins, anyone else think we could knock QBs out of the games like the Giants did either last year or the year before? I think it was 8 straight games. If Curtis Painter sees the field its curtains.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    I know this is an obvious statement, but the Browns will win if they make Indy play from behind. If they can get the two-score lead they couldn’t quite secure against the Bengals, they will be able to beat the colts into submission with the run game.

    Let’s see it Browns. Get that double-digit lead for once!

    Oh…and keep Robo on the shelf. If he isn’t targeted in the first half, don’t bother putting him in for the second. Watson, Moore, Little, MoMass, Cribbs, and Hillis will have it covered.

  • Harv 21

    … if I don’t watch. I’ve read this feature for the past 3(4?) years and this has proven a far more reliable indicator than anything posted by anyone.

    Hope they don’t get cute and overthink the offensive game plan. With a big pass rush from the INdy ends, wideouts who can’t get open quickly and absent Indy linebackers, better go smashmouth and then mix in some play action and screens. Love to see Little get off with some quick slants but that sort of timing might be at least a few games away yet.

  • Shamrock

    Of course running the ball will be priority #1 but defenses will stack the line and be centered on stopping #40. The Browns WRs can all be covered 1 on 1 so that leaves Watson and Moore as priority #2. Copy n paste this the remainder of the season.

    The other biggest ? Is what will the defense do against what appears to be a substandard Colts offense. If Indy finds a way to score then best of luck.

  • B-bo

    It’s all about the lines once again. O-line has to open up holes for Hillis, and the d-line needs to make Kerry Collins look like the over-the-hill journeyman he is. If he has time in the pocket, the receiving threats of Indy will eat us alive. Ground game and time of possession must be emphasized for us to have a chance.

    This has the vibe of a two-score Colts win, with the (sad but not surprising) “Fire H & H” crowd that is building among Browns fans going into hysterics, and further confusion building among players and coaches. If history has shown us anything these past 11 seasons, it’s that just when we think the team has gone as low as it can, there’s that little extra kick in the teeth waiting. I’m bracing myself.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    Anyone calling for H&H&S to be fired this week, win or lose, is a dope. Let’s finally give someone a real chance at success please.

    Also, those saying that we shouldn’t run too much, because they’ll be stacking the d-line, are incorrect in my opinion. The colts showed major weakness in their runnig defense last week. The Browns should absolutely approach a 2:1 run/pass ratio this week. Passing too much when their best defenders specialize in speed rushing is just foolish.

  • RyInCBus

    The Browns will win if…. HOLGREM fires Pat Shurmur and surprises the team by bringing back Mangini to make ‘em run laps during pregame! HURRRRRRR!

  • Horace

    Watch, Jauron has already said that Sheldon Brown will cover Reggie Wayne b/c Wayne lines up on that side of the field. Haden will cover Pierre Garcon (a bum).

    STUPID, stupid, stupid. Wayne is Indy’s only weapon, so our best DB should be covering him, not washed up Sheldon.

  • Harv 21

    C-Bus, agree, that’s what I meant about overthinking. Indy is horrible v. the run, we need to develop the running game, and to quote Coach Marty when he took over, “Football is a simple game. You have to beat your man.”

    And to quote Coach C-Bus Kevin, we just need to win 4 of 7 and we’ll run away with this division. Unless of course the AFC North is tougher than the AL Central.

  • NJ

    Why is it that I foresee 50 pass attempts for Mr. McCoy?

  • C-Bus Kevin

    @ Harv

    I’m not sure where I said the browns would runaway with the division, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did. I’m not one to avoid the foolish, over-reaching proclamation from time to time. I admit, I was sucked in by the hype. Now I’m squarely in the “believe it when I see it” camp.