A Glance into Game #6 – Browns @ Titans
After another dismal performance, the Browns dust themselves off and travel south to Tennessee to face the Titans. Prior to the beginning of the regular season, I strongly considered this as a potential victory for the Browns. However the injuries are piling up and the team’s play has been less than inspiring. Let’s look into this matchup regardless.
Quarterback – I got to be honest, I was going to wait to share my thoughts about this position after the team named their starter for this game. But does it really matter? The starter will probably get hurt and the backup might also go down with an injury. What a dismal season for Browns’ quarterbacks – they cannot do anything right.
Running Back – Isaiah Crowell was not effective when a team focused on stopping him (last game). Was the lack of yardage an aberration, or should fans not expect the runner to be extremely effective anymore. I envision a middle ground, where Crowell puts up decent yardage but is far from perfect. Hopefully Duke Johnson can find touches (and more importantly) yards in this game. Regardless of who is under center – they need a reliable running attack to help out the offense.
Wide Receiver – The Browns could really use the services of rookie Corey Coleman, as the franchise is still looking for another reliable target opposite Terrelle Pryor. Rashard Higgins and Ricardo Louis have had a few opportunities – but it will take time for them to hit their stride. Andrew Hawkins is making the most of his targets; perhaps he can usher a respectable game for the starting signal caller. However, I do not anticipate a great deal from this unit.
Tight End – Is Connor Hamlett a one-hit wonder, or could he be a fixture for this offense for years to come? Last week was a solid start, but he’s got a ways to go to be a consistent option. I do like the physical tools the youngster brings, but doing the little things will be extremely important (i.e. blocking, finding the soft spot in defenses, etc.) in his development. Gary Barnidge continues to haul in tosses for moderate gains; he is playing with a new signal caller every week but still helps out the Browns’ offense. I could possibly see a touchdown come from this duo.
Offensive Line – How about the goal of this game is to not get a quarterback hurt? The line has allowed defenders to breeze through the line of scrimmage on multiple occasions. The Titans do not present a tremendous defensive front, but that does not mean the Browns will have an easy time upfront. Alvin Bailey was adequate after being re-inserted into this lineup; hopefully he will play with a chip on his shoulder after getting a second chance. I would like to see a clean pocket on drop backs and running lanes for Crowell and Johnson – but I have some reservations.
Defensive Line – Danny Shelton continues to play pretty well in the middle. I understand that he is not filling the stat sheet in tackles and sacks; but he is disruptive against opposing running backs. The Titans bring a tremendous running attack (which includes their quarterback) in this game. This should be a great challenge for the guys upfront, and I believe they can hold their own. After missing a few games, Carl Nassib came back last contest. Despite not being extremely effective, I anticipate he will improve and make a handful of plays in this contest.
Outside Linebacker – The duo of Emmanuel Ogbah and Joe Schobert were pretty much invisible in last week’s game. They did not put pressure on the quarterback nor did they enforce the edge on runs. I hope the pair of rookies play better, but these are some of the growing pains that accompany rookies. Marcus Mariota is very mobile, so both guys will have to keep their head on a swivel or the Browns could see large gains from the opponent. I do not expect a lot from this bunch so I hope I am surprised.
Inside Linebacker – Chris Kirksey and Demario Davis must be very good to great in this contest, in order for the Browns to have a chance. They will see plenty of carries between the tackles, as well as crossing routes by pass catchers. I can count on both of these guys for solid play on a consistent basis, but I fear that one big play (or two) will occur when the inside linebackers are out of position. Defending tight ends has been a nightmare for the orange and brown, so if you have Delaine Walker on your Fantasy Football team you might want to start him.
Safety – The disappointment train continues to roll on at the safety positions. Did Jordan Poyer and Derrick Kindred even play last game? The ineffective duo has made a play here or there, but overall they have to improve. I am worried that the Titans will carve up the safeties in the passing game. The only saving grace is that Kindred might be useful in creeping up and stopping the opposing running game.
Cornerback – Ah, the weakest of weak spots for the Cleveland Browns. I have no hope or faith that Joe Haden, Jamar Taylor, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun can slow down the trio of Tajae Sharpe, Andre Johnson, and Kendall Wright. The home team should collect three or four passing touchdowns in this contest and give Browns’ fans more headaches on Sunday. Any good plays by the cornerbacks would be greatly welcomed but should not be expected.
Special Teams: This part of the team was respectable last contest. If the Browns can force their opponent to punt on more of a regular basis, then perhaps they can have an advantage over their counterparts. After a brutal first game, Cody Parkey is coming into his own and is making kicks. The Browns could use a big play by their special teams, a la a long return or a forced turnover.
Coaching: I mean, it’s hard to fault the coaching staff with this roster. Coach Jackson is still putting the team in the best spot to win – he can’t help it that his players keep on getting hurt. I would like to see Ray Horton do something to help out this secondary, but I do not know what can be done to actually see positive results.
Prediction (My Record: 5 – 0): Another game and another loss is on the horizon. The Browns lose this one by the score of 31 – 17 and the team will suffer their sixth defeat of the 2016 campaign.