As a local market representative and league manager of one of 16 teams invited to be a part of Crown Royal’s inaugural Fantasy Football League dubbed “First and Crown,” I will be using this spot every Sunday before the Browns kick off against their respective opponent to tell you who I’ll be watching during this Week’s contest.
This Week’s Spotlight: D’Qwell Jackson, ILB
— Kirk (@WFNYKirk) November 3, 2013
For a defense that is allegedly among the best in the NFL, Cinderella’s carriage sure turns into a pumpkin once that down marker reads “3.” The Cleveland Browns defense has done an exceptional job on first and second downs, holding opposing rushers and terrorizing quarterbacks not named Aaron Rodgers. But it’s on third downs when Ray Horton’s ears-pinned-back defense gets shredded in the most frustrating of fashions—screen passes, previously unknown tight ends on post patterns, and broken plays extended by athletic quarterbacks being among them.
This week, as the Browns look to break their much-discussed 11-game losing streak against the Baltimore Ravens, where stopping Joe Flacco on third down will be imperative. Shifty, pass-catching running back Ray Rice is reportedly healthy after sustaining an injury during the last match-up between these two teams. And for this reason, it is the team captain and containing linebacker D’Qwell Jackson who gets this week’s Spotlight.
As Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo and Jabaal Sheard try to reach the quarterback before he can make a decision, it will be up to Jackson (and teammate Craig Robertson), to hold down the middle of the field—to get down the line when needed, to fill in the gaps, and to bring down Rice any time his number is called.
The Ravens no longer have Anquan Boldin. It can be reasonably assumed that All-Everything cornerback Joe Haden will be blanketing Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. Marlon Brown, Baltimore’s Week 2 hero, is losing targets to Jacoby Jones. Alas, it will be up to Rice to carry a good portion of the load for his team. Conversely, it will be up to DQ52 to carry the momentum gained from the second half of last week’s loss and get his defense off of the field after three downs. Stopping Rice is a terrific first step in doing just that.
Previous Spotlight Players:
Image via Candice Vlcek/WFNY