August 26, 2014

Week 9: The Browns Will Win If…

First and foremost, can anyone out there run the ball? The Browns need you. Strap on your pads. Conversely, the Texans are coming into this game with a finally-healthy-looking Arian Foster. Gack. The Browns’ defense continue to struggle against the run–and apparently throws to the tackle-eligible–but is also still keeping the team in games long enough to illustrate that their offense if just garbage. Progress?

brownstexans

The Texans are seventh in the league in yards per game, and are scoring almost 26 points per game. It’s going to hinge on the Browns’ defense’s ability to keep them in check. Houston is also fourth in the league in rushing yards per game. D’oh! Cleveland is catching a possible break with WR Andre Johnson questionable with a bum hamstring, but even still they have their work cut out for them. Without further ado…

The Browns Will Win If…

Editor’s note: Similar to the pats weeks, we have started things off with sharing some takes with our audience over at Still WFNY – please feel free to head over to Cleveland.com to partake. 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 : …well, let me be honest in saying the Browns will not win now that Peyton Hillis has re-injured his hamstring in Friday’s practice. Maybe Chris Ogbannaya can step up and impresses, but I’m not optimistic. The only way the Browns can win is with their defense, especially since Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson is reportedly out, per ESPN’s John Clayton. Cleveland’s defense needs to shut down running back Arian Foster and hope they can hold the Texans offense to only field goals to give the Browns any chance of winning in Houston.

Scott: …the stars align oh-so perfectly.  The Browns pass-rush – specifically the front four – has to attack and execute on a relatively immoblie Matt Schaub.  Said quarterback has to not have Andre Johnson to throw the ball to, forcing the passing game inside to the likes of Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter underneath.  If the linebacking corps as well as TJ Ward out of the safety spot can focus on the underneath zone while containing Arian Foster, the offense should have a chance to keep things close; half of the battle given the last several weeks of ineptness.  Colt McCoy has to have Peyton Hillis back, and both men have to provide their best 60 minutes as a football player in 2011.  If a balanced offense is there for the having, it should ultimately open up the outsides for Greg Little, Ben Watson and a returning Mohammed Massaquoi.  Then it comes all the way back to that pesky execution thing.  Nothing we have seen to this point would lead us to believe it’s possible.  Pat Shurmur and Company have to change that and do so this Sunday.

DP: …they can somehow slow down the Texans’ running game, while getting Peyton Hillis back and imposing some running game will of their own. If Andre Johnson doesn’t play, that will help the Browns’ passing defense. However, if Arian Foster can get going, it may not matter. To help alleviate those concerns, the Browns can get a shot in the arm if Hillis is able to play, gets some carries, and can grind out some offense on the ground. Behind him, it’s slim pickings for the running game, and the passing game has been pretty stagnant as well.

Rick: …Andre Johnson doesn’t play for starters. The WR has been injured and is still listed as day-to-day. Let’s face it, when in a battle it helps if the enemy is short on weapons. The Browns will have to contain Houston’s running game, as mentioned by others, but I think we know what we will get from the defense. They will play hard and keep Cleveland within striking distance. It is on the offense (again) to deliver something. The offensive line will be tested, and you can bet that Houston will attempt to bring more pressure to keep McCoy off balance. (It has worked for everyone else.) If Hillis isn’t able to play, will the new duo of running backs be able to pick up the blitz? What happens if Ogbonnaya goes down? It just doesn’t look good.

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What say, there, fuzzy britches?

  • Harv 21

    - Peyton feels well enough to play with passion for his payday.

    - O-line O-line O-line

    and most of all …

    - The Texans believe everything they are seeing on tape and can’t help but look past us. This happens at least once a season to almost every team. Happened to the Pats against us last year.

    Keep Colt Alive!

  • mgbode

    @Harv – you don’t want to know what MaryK is saying then.

  • NJ

    The Browns cannot come out slow this week. Kubiak is a guy who likes to sit on a lead and, with Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Lawrence Vickers facing our run defense, a 14-0 second quarter lead might be enough for the Texans to simply grind things out, especially if we see the same offensive output we’ve gotten thus far this season.

  • mgbode

    a bunch of things have to happen as the Texans are a better team than us.

    1. we have to play with 2X more passion than they do. i’m talking JAX vs. Balt in the MNF level of difference.

    2. we have to play lights-out on defense. our defense has been really good, but part of it is playing conservatively and not making the ‘big’ plays. we need a game-changer at some point and I trust out defense to deliver one more than the offense or STs.

    3. no ST mess-ups. i’ll be happy with Phil doing what Phil does and everyone else just doing a good enough job here.

    4. on offense, we need OB-G(yn) to give the Texans interior an exam (ok, that was terrible, I apologize). we really need him to continue what he’s been doing in the passing game and prove he can handle the ball 15+ times in the running game (something he hasn’t ever done in his HS, college or NFL career – so I don’t say that lightly)

    5. we also need Colt to hit receivers, TEs, RBs in stride. I’m sick of them having to slow down or stop and getting no YAC. Only Little is strong enough to get his YAC anyway. Colt was better at this last year, so he has it in him.

  • Matt

    Heard on the radio that Hillis reaggravated his hamstring injury in practice today. Ugh.

  • RyInCBus

    Call me what you will, but I’m not necessarily looking for a win at this point. (I know, how depressing!) What I’m looking for is that elusive “improvement” we’ve heard so much about in seemingly every press conference I’ve heard from Pat Shurmur since Week 3. Perhaps this is not even the week to expect to see that, with the formidable opponent we’re about to face in their own building. However, at some point we’ve got to start playing NFL caliber football against NFL caliber teams. Its one thing to beat the winless Clots and LOLphins (did you happen to see what I did there?) but to actually go toe to toe with one of the better teams in the league would be a feat in and of itself. Granted, there’s no such thing as a moral victory, but I’d feel a whole lot better about the direction of this team if we could somehow hang with Houston on Sunday. If for nothing else Browns, just to shut some people up for a week.

  • RyInCBus

    Oh, and Hillis is hurt again. Yay!!!! O_o

  • Lyon

    I’m with TD Andrew & Wolf on this.

  • RyInCBus

    Just came across this gem….

    According to NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi, the Browns are “so integrated into the West Coast system that their predictability is becoming legendary around the league.”

    Lombardi puts Browns film on every week, calls a former NFL coach and relays the personnel group, formation, ball location and motion. The former coach has been correct “95 percent” of the time in guessing the Browns’ play. Lombardi notes that while the Saints, Packers and Eagles all use West Coast principles, the Browns are the only team exclusively using the offense which hasn’t seen a Super Bowl winner since the 2002 Bucs.
    Source: NFL.com
    Nov 4 – 12:55 PM

  • RyInCBus

    Who wants to bet our man Gruden is the former NFL coach predicting all of our plays? Holmgren disciple, HC of the 2002 Bucs.

  • Matt

    @RyInCBus #9, that is terrifyingly believable.

    But the 2002 Bucs won with great defense, so maybe we have a chance….?

  • MrCleaveland

    When will team trainers and docs ever learn that you can not rush some injuries, especially hammies? You just have to shut it down for a while. Otherwise, you have a chronic problem that never heals.

    I’m stepping off 15 yards against the Browns medical staff for malpractice.

  • MrCleaveland

    @9

    There was also a report out of Oakland that one of the Browns offensive linemen was tipping off plays and that the Raiders knew what was coming.

    Did anything more ever come of that?

  • Harv 21

    @12: wouldn’t necessarily put this on the med staff. Hillis already showed that this year he will not be talked into playing if he doesn’t feel up to it. Just as likely he’s starting to feel a little desperate to get back in there what with the contract looming and all the recent bad pub. Or, this guy is a tightly muscled injury-prone player.

    His injury history is starting to lengthen, covers college, Denver and here and should be worrisome to interested teams. Like Montario, looks like he’s high risk/high reward. Sometimes those guys work out (Jamal Lewis on the Ravens) but sometimes they just can’t stop getting hurt or reaggravating.

  • MrCleaveland

    @14

    I get what you’re saying, Harv, but somebody has to be the adult. The docs should have given him complete leg rest for 10 days or so, and then eased him back in. It’s their call, not Hillis’, not his agent’s, not Shurmur’s, not Tony Grossi’s, etc. Rushing injuries is counter-productive and self-defeating, and it risks long-term gain at the expense of only a 50-50 chance or so of short-term gain. It’s a lose-lose proposition.

  • oribiasi

    Check out this gem: http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/5699/colt-mccoy

    From the little article: “According to NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi, the Browns are “so integrated into the West Coast system that their predictability is becoming legendary around the league. Lombardi puts Browns film on every week, calls a former NFL coach and relays the personnel group, formation, ball location and motion. The former coach has been correct “95 percent” of the time in guessing the Browns’ play. Lombardi notes that while the Saints, Packers and Eagles all use West Coast principles, the Browns are the only team exclusively using the offense which hasn’t seen a Super Bowl winner since the 2002 Bucs.”

    Link to the full article on NFL.com: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d823c4fab/article/week-9-lookahead-good-teams-need-to-separate-from-bad-ones

    Now that an NFL analyst has confirmed what I have been saying for a while now, I have prepared a large dish of crown for those who still think Shurmur’s offense is an improvement over last year. Any takers?

  • oribiasi

    @ RyInCBus: Wow, you beat me to it, lol. Well done.

  • Big Z

    @9: Lombardi is the biggest Browns hater, I can’t stand him. Why does it even matter what play they call!? their running game isn’t respectable, McCoy never has time to read the field, and the receivers don’t get open or passes. I can’t believe how they have neglected their TE’s this year, it’s one of the offense’s greatest strengths. Oh well, that’s Shurmur for ya. I miss Rich Eisen and Total Access though, damn Time Warner.

    The Browns can win this game if the D grabs two pick sixes (like they did in the New Orleans game last year), Josh Cribbs returns a punt/kick for a touchdown, and the offense puts up 10 points.

  • Big Z

    or passes = or drop open passes

  • B-bo

    @RyInCbus That’s not exactly shocking to hear regarding the predictability/vanilla nature of the offense, nor do I find it all that frustrating. The system is being installed here for the first time: it makes sense that we would be focused on the stock formations/plays/etc. so as to develop an understanding of the basics. Gotta crawl before you walk, as they say. Obviously, it’d be nice to start seeing some original wrinkles of our own worked in there soon, and perhaps we will. If we’re still seeing/hearing the same type of thing in 2012, then I’ll start to worry.

  • B-bo

    To the point of this article, I just don’t see a win as a possibility this week. Schaub would have to have a bad day, and our defense would need to capitalize with points, or by giving us great (HOU red zone) field position. Special teams would need to do the same. The offense just isn’t there yet.

  • RyInCBus

    Good points B-bo. It also explains why our offense has been so frustrating to watch. This whole season has played out so awkwardly thus far, I’m beginning to look forward to the off-season in hopes it brings more answers than questions.

  • Jon

    The Browns will win if…….THEY WON”T! The sad truth about this season is we can’t go into a game against a respectable NFL team and say if we play our best game and they play their worst game we’ll come out on top. Last year that was the formula that brought us victories over the Saints and Patriots. Blame it on injuries, Colt’s regression, Schurmur’s growing pains or whatever. This weekly article only makes sense when we are playing other NFL bottom feeders at this time.

  • jimkanicki

    one of these weeks is a shock-the-world win. the defense is good enough to keep us in any game. the offense just needs to get its head out of its ass.

    the browns CAN win if greco replaces either pashos or lauvao on the right side of the line. if he can stabilize that side to any degree, mack can get back to being mack. if colt isn’t forced to throw off the wrong foot, his accuracy will improve. if he can hit his targets between the numbers maybe we’ll see some west coast YAC.

    this can definitely happen. the o-line just needs to let colt not be knocked on his ass on every other pass play.

  • Paulo

    Well, last year we saw the Browns win the game with the Saints, and then the Patriots right arround this time of the season. If we won this game we would create momentum to the next games and if we won them we would go 7 – 4 , wich i think is very good.

    I think the Browns will win if the Defense does a good game, and we could run the ball efectively. As for the running game, i would like to see Obbo, or clayton, running mad and consistently down the field, i see every year rookies or 2 year players making great performances, we just have not been able to see that in Cleveland…

    As for the Lombardi comment, i am a portuguese 4 year fan of the NFL, and even i can see some predictability in our game, but i think it is a result of a weak OL ..(for me Lauvao is overrated, pashos is a second string, the pikston kid is yeet to prove something)

    I would just like to add somethings that can be interesting:

    - In the Oakland, SF, and Bengals game, it where the Browns that gave the game to the oponnents, fumbles, kick returns, interceptions, fake field goals, i mean we were bad but if we were consisten at least the bengals game and the raiders game (without campbell ) we could have won.

    - Note that the Browns were in this season the only team that beat the Packers ( in the preseason).

    - As for Colt Mccoy, i think we can not evaluate him so soon, we have to build a solid OL and WR core, and then see what he can do, and we have all the reasons to do so, because even if Mccoy isnt our guy if we build a team around a QB and then find out hes not good, we simply change the QB and still have a solid team (OL, WR, DEF).

    Paulo – PORTUGAL