July 23, 2014

Saturday Six Pack: Reasons to be optimistic for Browns vs. Ravens

Desmond Bryant

It’s tough to stay positive when you’re losing. It’s even tougher to stay positive when you got sucked in thinking that it would be different this year, only to watch the same old Browns take the field in week 1. But it’s only been one week, and instead of sulking in the corner like the nerdy kid who continues to get cup checked by a group of bullying jocks, let’s dive into this week’s six pack of  reasons to be excited for the Brownies visit to the defending Super Bowl champs.

There’s plenty of good film to look at.

Coaches love teaching opportunities and after last week’s total bummer that was week one, there are a plethora of them heading into week two. It’s not so much what Coach Chud and Weeden can learn from their own game last week that intrigues me, it’s the tape of Peyton Manning decimating the Ravens’ defense that could be the key to the Browns’ offense having success.

Manning gashed the new look Ravens’ D for 462 yards through the air, 7 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Anybody who thinks Weeden is capable of duplicating Manning’s performance probably has had a few more than a six pack, but the road map to success has been laid out by Manning and you better believe Chud, Norv, and Weeds were studying it closely all week long.

The Ravens don’t have Cameron Wake.

Yes the Ravens have Terrell Suggs, and have added Elvis Dumervill, and Chris Canty to their front, but Mitchell Schwartz will be relieved not be lining up opposite the Dolphins’ Wake in week two.

Wake is considered by many to be the NFL’s best pass rusher, and he showed it time and again last week, with a monstrous three sacks and six hits on Weeden. In this week’s Browns Film Room, Rick details the struggles the Browns had blocking Wake, but if you need any more convincing these GIF’s will do the trick. Let’s hope the Brownie’s blocking schemes don’t rely too much on Ogbonnaya coming across formation to pick up one of the NFL’s best sack artists — it didn’t end well.

Jordan Cameron is a “must start” for fantasy owners.

Coming off a nine catch (13 targets) performance for 108 yards and a touchdown fantasy owners all across the country scrambled to pick up the Browns’ tight end. Cameron is now owned in 73% of ESPN leagues, a 31% rise from a week ago.

The fact that Denver’s virtual unknown Julius Thomas was no match for safety Michael Huff and the Ravens’ defense in week one only leads to the hope for a repeat performance from Cameron in week 2. Cameron’s fantasy rise will bring attention nationally to the Browns’ offense in week 2.

Trent will get his touches.

All week long the big story outside of Oniel Cousins’ struggles was the lack of touches for the Browns star running back. It’s not just Browns fans who were displeased with shortage of chances for Richardson in week one, but all those fantasy owners who wasted a first round pick on Richardson can’t be too happy either.

The good news is this was such a talking point in the media there is no way Trent doesn’t see a healthy dose of the pigskin on Sunday. Whether he has great success running the ball or not, Norv has to continue to feed the beast and try to ware down the Ravens defense. Denver ran the ball 23 times for only 65 yards but the commitment to the run was key in keeping the Ravens honest.

Trent has had twenty or more carries just five times in his career. In those games he’s averaging 96 yards on the ground and the Browns are 3-2. In all other games Trent has averaged just 47 yards and the Browns are 2-9.

The Ravens have no wide receivers.

Technically I suppose they do. I’ll count Torrey Smith as a legit weapon to stretch the field for Flacco, but Joe Haden should be able to lock him up. Jacoby Jones has been ruled out for Sunday’s game so that leaves the thin Browns secondary to deal with the likes of  Brandon Stokely, Marlon Brown, and Dallas Clark.

If you watched last Thursday’s game you saw there is a reason Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokely were out of the league a couple months ago — they aren’t any good. And Marlon Brown may as well be the name of a 70′s funk singer for as far I’m concerned.

This is a receiving corp the Browns secondary better be able to handle.

The Browns have a dominant defensive front. 

Groves and Kruger picked up where they left off against Andrew Luck, bearing down on Tannehill for much of the afternoon and recording a sack a piece. Desmond Bryant also showed his “freakish” abilities we heard about in the off-season, bringing Tannehill down twice in the backfield.

All four Browns sacks came when they only rushed four — a great help to a weaker secondary.

The Browns front seven also completely eliminated the Dolphins’ running game. Miami managed only 20 yards on the ground on 23 carries. That’s dominating.

The test will get tougher on the ground this week as they face a good Ravens’ o-line and Ray Rice who is several notches higher on the running back ladder than the Dolphins’ Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I don’t know if I necessarily agree with all of the points the author makes especially the OL more specifically Mitchell Schwartz having a better day tomorrow. Before the opener I didn’t hear many people if any talking about Cameron Wake being the “NFL’s best pass rusher” or for that matter Miami’s defensive line. Baltimore not only has Dumervil now but Suggs as well as Ngata. With Cousins next to him week two won’t be any easier for Schwartz.

    The Ravens WRs definitely aren’t scary but then again either is the Browns secondary. Everyone knows Haden will be on Smith so lets see which lesser group, the Ravens WRs or the Browns DBs step up.

    As far as the Browns defensive front being dominant yea they looked really good week one but then again the Miami OL wasn’t exactly their best unit. They are young and have new faces. The Browns destroyed their run but just exactly how much pressure did they put on Tannehill because he sure killed the Browns secondary? I don’t care how much you attack i.e. blitz if you can’t get to the QB within five seconds with the Browns secondary you are going to be in trouble. This is largely why I really wanted Milliner this past draft. But oh well. We’ll see week 2.

  • GoBrowns

    Reason number 7. It can’t be any worse.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    I have to ask: have you followed this team long? Because anyone who has knows that, yes, it most certainly can be worse.