In seven words or less, please explain what you expect to see from the Browns on Sunday.
Gerberry: Expect the unexpected…or worse.
Gilbert: I have no idea with this team.
Josh: Just don’t suck, please.
Bode: Cannot lose to city which consumes Skyline.
Dave: Please, don’t lose to the ginger
Cleveland Browns offense versus Bengals defense
What is the approximate number of run attempts you would like to see from the Browns. How would you like them distributed among the backs and why?
Gerberry: Would like to see? 35 with Duke Johnson getting 15 and Crowell/Dayes splitting the rest. I imagine that we will see something more akin to 25, with Duke seeing 5-7 and Crowell leading the rest of the way. Why this coaching staff abandons the run is beyond me.
Gilbert: 25-35. The Browns have a young quarterback and a pretty good offensive line. The run game needs to be the actual backbone of the offense. I would give Duke Johnson the most carries. He is your most dynamic offensive player. So, 15-20 carries for Johnson and 10-15 carries for Isaiah Crowell.
Josh: 35, because that will mean that they’re in control of the game and winning. Preferably, I’d like to see Crow have 20 and Duke have 15.
Bode: Assuming the Browns run approximately 70 plays, I would like to see a minimum of 30 runs and another three or four scrambles from Kizer. I also do not want to see Matthew Daye receive any of those runs- as bad as Crowell has been, he has been worse. Give Crowell one last shot at getting into a rhythm with 20 carries with the last 10 to Duke Johnson. But, do not give up on running the ball even if the Browns trail.
Dave: 50. most of them in mop-up duty. Give them to Dayes.
DeShone Kizer showed some good signs against the Colts despite his receivers doing him no favors with eight drops. Should the offense be adjusted to focus on more shorter routes to hopefully decrease those drops?
Gerberry: The receivers need time with a Juggs machine more than changing the offense. While one or two drops were on risky throws, DeShone Kizer was able to thread the needle fairly well to these receivers. Maybe some guys heard footsteps, maybe some have alligator arms. Whatever the circumstances are, the unit as a whole needs to get better and securing the ball.
Gilbert: The Browns need to run the ball first and foremost. Off of that, the Browns should use play action and shorter throws like slants and screens that allow the receiver to make plays after the catch. Hue Jackson needs to stop putting everything on the back of Kizer.
Josh: With the lack of talent the Browns have in the wide receiver group, Hue Jackson and company just need to figure out a way to get them open. Whether it’s short routs or not, I don’t care as long as they get open.
Bode: I would go with more intermediate (10-15 yard) routes with Kizer having a quick two-read system to help him get rid of the ball and hopefully alleviate the receiver drop tendencies. Short routes are just not the strength of Kizer though he does need to learn to utilize them as dump offs when no one deep is open.
Dave: Jordan Leslie WR1.
Describe your overall offensive gameplan against the Bengals.
Gerberry: Put the ball in the hands of your playmakers and let them do something with it. Duke Johnson was the second most electric player in Week 3, behind on T.Y. Hilton. Whether it be handing him the ball or getting it to him in the passing game through screens, angle and wheel routes, Duke needs to get 20 plus touches for this offense to make any kind of headway.
Gilbert: Run and give the ball to Duke. The Browns need to start using their run game and not go away from it. With the run game established, the passing game can go off of that with play action. And the unit must use Duke Johnson more. He needs to be used a runner and receiver and get a lot more touches in a variety of ways during the game.
Josh: Give the ball to your best playmaker, Duke Johnson. With the lack of playmakers on offense, it’s incredible to me that the Browns don’t utilize Duke more, whether it’s out of the backfield or in the slot.
Bode: Spread the formations out wide and create space both using the width and depth of the field. The Bengals will likely control the middle of the field with J.C. Tretter struggling and Cincinnati having Geno Atkins, so it is necessary to get to the outside to have success. Use those quick intermediate routes to push the defense a bit deeper so they cannot stack the box against the run and add some quarterback draw elements as an added element.
Dave: The bengals front 7 is still pretty good. It is going to take a good mix of rush and pass to keep them on their toes. I worry that if Kizer holds the ball too much hey might get hurt, especially with known dirty players on the Bengals defense.
Cleveland Browns defense versus Cincinnati Bengals Offense
The Browns continue to bury Jabrill Peppers almost 30 yards off the ball as a 1-deep safety. With A.J. Green on the Bengals, does it actually make sense for him to be that far back this week?
Gerberry: Peppers has been playing out of his element in this defense and it showed itself in Week 3 against Indy. Using Jabrill so deep is cutting off his ability to get after the passer and help in the run game, which are the reasons he was drafted so highly. Even if you use him as a security blanket on A.J. Green, he does not need to be off the screen on regular camera views.
Gilbert: No. It makes sense to maybe have him 15-20 yards down field on occasion. That is the normal depth of a deep safety. At that depth, he has a chance to make more plays. But, to consistently put Peppers, who is not suited for this role, 30 or more yards back is ridiculous. The defense is playing with 10 defenders on many of the plays. Peppers needs to be used closer to the line to utilize his downhill nature and physical presence.
Josh: No, that gameplan will never make sense and TY Hilton exposed it last week. Be aggressive and try to make things happen defensively, Gregg Williams.
Bode: I have no issue with Gregg Williams using Peppers to bracket A.J. Green as Dalton is going to chuck up a few prayers to him throughout the game even if the is triple-covered. However, if Peppers is going to make an impact, he needs to be at the 18-20 yard depth that Williams played his Angel Safety with the Rams rather than where Peppers is now.
Dave: Time to go all in. Peppers on the goal line every play.
The linebackers as a group looked horrid in Week 3. Is Jamie Collins that important or can the group rebound this week even if he continues to miss time with his concussion?
Gerberry: Collins has Pro Bowl talent and losing him on this defense, already without Myles Garrett, and with Jabrill playing the kind of deep center field you tell your baby brother to play when you don’t want him to be around but your mom said you have to bring him with you if you wanted to leave the house, was and will continue to be a huge hit to the production. Christian Kirksey, Joe Schobert and James Burgess Jr need to step up and help out while Collins is taking care of his concussion.
Gilbert: Jamie Collins is really good and is a big loss for the defense. His versatility is tough to replace. But, Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert are good enough to not let the unit sink. I think the group can rebound with a week under their belt without Collins.
Josh: Collins is important mainly because he is the veteran and leader of the linebackers, but there’s no excuse for how bad the group was last Sunday. I think they do much better this week against a mediocre (at best) Bengals’ offensive line.
Bode: The linebacker corps continues to have OK guys who would be much better with a true elite guy in the group. Collins is the best approximation of one (though he’s not), so it is even more glaring when he is absent.
Dave: The group has to rebound, and of course that is easier with Collins back. The underneath crossing routes continue to be a thorn in the Browns side, regardless of coach, owner, etc…
If you were the Bengals, what area of the field would you be looking to exploit?
Gerberry: While I don’t envision Gregg Williams making adjustments on how far back Jabrill Peppers will be, I do expect him to play better back there after having a horrendous Week 3. That being said, I welcome Cincinnati to attack the rookie and use Green like Hilton was used last week. If this was a long con by Williams to lure teams into thinking Peppers is bad at coverage, they are playing the first part very well.
Gilbert: The middle of the field. With Peppers playing so deep, the middle of the field underneath Peppers is wide open to exploit. If the Browns do not move the safety up, the zone will continue to be exposed.
Josh: The middle, and about 10-15 yards downfield. I have a feeling Williams still won’t make adjustments and will have Peppers 25-30 yards off the LOS. AJ Green is going to have a field day if that’s the case.
Bode: The linebackers and safeties have all been far too aggressive. Dalton is decent at play action, so expect a heavy early dose of it with deep looks to Green until the Browns show more discipline.
Dave: Wide receiver and tight end crossing routes.
Cleveland Browns outlook
What do the Browns need to do in order to obtain their first 2017 victory?
Gerberry: Use your playmakers. Let Peppers loose and give the ball to Duke Johnson. There’s no reason for either to be game planned out of use on this team. The roster is bereft of guys you can count on week after week to go above and beyond, but it is a talented roster when they are all playing to their abilities. Peppers and Johnson are players that you should be able to look to when the going gets tough, but one is too far down the field to count on and the other hasn’t been getting the proper number of touches in the offense. Lean on those young stars.
Gilbert: Run the ball, give Duke Johnson more touches and play smart on defense. The offense needs to focus on establishing the run and play their offense off of that. The unit must also give Duke Johnson more touches and make him a feature of the offense. On defense, the players and coaches need to be smarter. The players need to stop committing dumb penalties, making technique mistakes and committing simple breakdowns in coverage. The coaches need to learn from their early season mistakes like not using Peppers the entire game in a role he is not fit for and also moving the deep safety up 10 to 15 yards to actually be part of the play.
Josh: Outscore the Bengals. No, but seriously, just make adjustments as the game goes on. Use your best playmaker on offense (Duke) and please, please allow Peppers to be in a position to make plays, both in the pass game and at the line of scrimmage. The Bengals aren’t very good, and if Myles Garrett is back, the Browns have no excuse to not win this weekend.
Bode: If they could stop shooting themselves in the foot, then it would be a nice start. Getting the play in on time, lining up correctly, no false starts, and minimize the dropped balls. On defense, stop Green, stop the Bengals. Their offense has been bad and even the Browns should be able to get pressure with the way their offensive line is playing. This ain’t rocket surgery.
Dave: Not have the big giveaways. Against Pittsburgh it was the spotted touchdown, against the Colts it was the horrible 2nd quarter. The Browns need to play all of the plays of all of the quarters to win.