Week 3: The Browns Will Win If…

The Browns are in the win column, hooray! What’s that? The Colts are dreadful? Don’t harsh my buzz. The important thing is that the Browns *should* have won that game, and they did. And, they did it with defense, for the most part. They never let the Colts get into the end zone until the end, which was a death-by-a-thousand-cuts time bleeding drive. Granted, I thought back to that 2001 Bears game which ended up being an overtime loss, but I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been constantly dumped on your entire sports life by a team/franchise.


I copy/pasted last year’s post code into this one, and I can’t bring myself to take this line out: “First and foremost, how angry does that Dolphin look? I mean, man. I thought Snowflake in Ace Ventura was a nice, happy dolphin. As Lenny in The Simpsons once said, they’re the clowns of the sea! I digress…” The Dolphins are 0-2, but they have played two pretty decent teams in New England and Houston. They’ve put up pretty solid numbers offensively, averaging 271.5 yards through the air and 125.5 yards on the ground. Their problem has been defense: in their two games they’ve allowed 967 yards in offense to their opponents. So, the question will be: can the Browns keep up offensively? The weather looks to be lousy today and tomorrow, but should clear up on Sunday. If that changes, it will be interesting to see how it affects the game. Without further ado…

The Browns Will Win If…

Editor’s note:  We have 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 can continue putting the ball into running back Peyton Hillis’ and wide receiver Josh Cribbs’ hands. Hillis is like any other big and bruising rusher and the more touches he gets in a game, the stronger he becomes. Cribbs, on the other hand, has been talking about how he doesn’t care what position he plays anymore and he simply wants the ball in his hands. Whether it’s receiver, running back, heck…even line him up as a tight end since he can block well…just get him the ball more.

The Browns will win if they can get Hillis 20-25 touches per game and Cribbs 8-12 per game too. Head coach Pat Shurmur has been vocal about getting his playmakers more touches and it all starts with these two players.

Craig: …they can get their pass rush going on Chad Henne. I absolutely love his stable of weapons. I saw Brandon Marshall torch the Colts live once when he was still with the Broncos and it was absolutely incredible to see. The Broncos lost the game, mind you, but Brandon Marshall had 21 receptions for 200 yards and two touchdowns in that game. Twenty-one receptions. So the Browns better not give Chad Henne time. After Marshall, I also really respect Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano, Brian Hartline and Reggie Bush as guys who could collectively give the Browns’ defense fits this weekend if they have to hold pass coverage too long. Another thing to keep in mind about the Dolphins offense is that Henne can run a bit. In their opening week loss to the Pats, Henne was their leading rusher with 59 yards and a TD on 7 “carries.” Rubin, Taylor, Mitchell and Sheard need to be able to get some pressure without bringing the house in order to contain those annoyingly long QB scrambles.

Scott: …they can get to Chad Henne and stop the screen passes.  We all saw how Henne was able to put up respectible totals against the Patriots.  We’ve seen what Brandon Marshall can do to the Browns.  Due to his physical play, he’ll likely draw a lot of Sheldon Brown on coverage and that scares the absolute “baby Jesus” out of me.  That said, get to Henne early and often but ensure that someone contains Reggie Bush on the screens.  Limit those two weapons – easier said than done, I know – and the offense should be able to provide enough scoring opportunities for the  Browns to bring home a win.

DP: …they can put touchdowns on the board and make some stops on third down defensively. Field goals will not win this game, I’m afraid. If the Browns’ offense can exploit the weaknesses in the Miami defense–secondary springs to mind–and move the ball, that will help the D. But, what they really need to do is what they did against the Colts when they got the chance: they HAVE to put the ball in the endzone. I’d like to see a nice mix of Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty in the backfield, and I’d like to see Colt McCoy making some throws long than three yard dumps with some regularity. I’m also interested to see if Greg Little can back up his Tweet. Defensively, the defensive line needs to step up again. They can’t let Chad Henne sit back there and pick them apart (did I just type that?). Joe Haden against Brandon Marshall is a matchup to watch, as well. At the end of the day, possess the ball on offense, score touchdowns, and occasionally get off the field on third down defensively. Sounds simple, right?

Rick: …they put together a full game. So far on the season, the Browns have played decent football for 3 out of 8 quarters. Somehow they still had a shot to win both. It’s time the Browns were able to focus out of the gate and move the ball on their first drive. Playing from behind is not a recipe for consistent success in this league. Cleveland needs pressure from the front four again, giving Henne less time to throw and Marshall less time to get open. I think they have it in them.

Kirk: …they limit turnovers. Peyton Hillis coughed it up last week, and we don’t want to see that trend start again. Colt’s had one pick garbage time pick in two games, and he needs to keep it that way against a Miami D that has given up the most yards in the NFL so far. On the defensive line, I want more of the same from our young studs. Chad Henne is a mistake-maker when he is pressured. D’Qwell Jackson must lead the charge against Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush. Finally, Joe Haden needs to make Brandon Marshall’s day rough. We know he has all the tools necessary.


What say, there, fuzzy britches?

  • mgbode

    with 8 minutes to go vs. Miami, Houston was up 10 and decided to just run Ben Tate into the line and see what happens. Ben Tate was able to gain 2 first downs, make Miami use all of it’s timeouts, and burn over 5 min of game clock.

    Peyton Hillis should be salivating (esp. if Dansby misses the game as expected).

    also, Brady/Schaub have had their way with the Miami secondary. Yes, they have 2 of the best 5 passing offenses in the NFL, but it should be a good measuring stick to see if Colt can have a good game (not expecting their level).


    on defense, as mentioned above, it’s all about making Henne uncomfortable. NE tried to just confuse him and he did well making reads.

    i’m scared of them using Reggie in open-space as our OLB are slow, but hopefully they use Thomas (who we are better equipped to handle even though he is the better overall back).

    their WRs are good, but so is our secondary. should be a good test for them.

  • Harv 21

    … if the Dolphins stink up the joint or we don’t self-inflict. Don’t have a great feeling about this one after seeing how easy the defense has been on low quality qb’s. Will our LBs show up Sunday or, more accurately, can they? Henne is solidly mediocre with decent weapons, and must be watching them on film – I’d send Reggie Bush and tight ends right at our doughy middle.

    Hope Cribbs is ready to do his thing again. I think we’ll need him.

  • Vengeful Pat

    Run the ball and win the possession battle. Keep Miami’s offense off the field. Make Reggie Bush put the ball on the deck. I’m looking at you D’Qwell Jackson.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    QB pressure. It’s that simple.

    If Henne led them in rushing either week, they stink at running the ball. Just get to Henne and put him on the ground. Marshall can’t burn you if Henne can’t throw it in time.

  • B-bo

    Pressure, pressure, pressure. I think most of us can recall fondly just how bad Chad Henne is with a pass rush in his face. That said, don’t lose Reggie Bush when he’s on the field. He’s been solidly mediocre most of his pro career, but if he gets space due to overzealous pass rush, our LBs are going to spend the day looking foolish. The Dolphin WR corps scares me for the reasons Craig mentioned–there are numerous weapons capable of burning us (Bess in particular, who has had some Welker-esque games for them). Ward will need to keep close tabs on Fasano, as Henne has shown a willingness to feed him in the past. And whoever lines up across from Brandon Marshall better be in top form. There are too many guys to keep tabs on in that offense to be able to send corners and safeties after the QB, so the big kids up front will need another great day.

    Offensively, there’s very little the Dolphins do particularly well, at least not consistently. What they do have are threats off the ends with Taylor (still looking solid) and Wake (who scares me more than Freeney did last week). Hillis will need to do his thing between the tackles, where they are most vulnerable. And Colt simply must be willing to take shots downfield on this secondary–if he’s given time, the chances will be there.

    I don’t see fewer than 24 points being enough to win this game, so no soft stuff once we get inside the 20…and no Hardesty inside the 5, thank you. Beatable opponent, but far from a pushover. I think this game will give us the best indicator of what we can expect from this team in 2011. A little pride in front of the home crowd would be nice to see.

  • TSR3000

    I never understood why the dolphin doesn’t wear a dolphins helmet?

  • fan 4 life

    “I don’t see fewer than 24 points being enough to win this game, so no soft stuff once we get inside the 20…and no Hardesty inside the 5, thank you. Beatable opponent, but far from a pushover. I think this game will give us the best indicator of what we can expect from this team in 2011. A little pride in front of the home crowd would be nice to see.”

    Agreed on all those points, well said.

  • @6… Oh! And on the dolphin’s Dolphin helmet the dolphin is wearing a Dolphin’s helmet! Kinda like the cover of Ummagumma. Trippy.

    I’m going with the Romeo Crennel analysis of this game: The Browns will win if… they score more points than the Dolphins.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    …eat clock and control marshall. that is all.