Another Game for the Browns – vs. the 49ers
Apathy is setting in; sadness appears to be a distant memory for Cleveland Browns’ fans. People are over this franchise and many don’t care to see, hear, or know anything about the orange and brown (at least right now). It looks like the players feel the same way – there’s no passion and they do not care how badly they are beaten. However, this game on Sunday looks like it’s the final winnable one in 2015. Below is some analysis:
Quarterback – Well now Johnny is back in the saddle; after sitting out the past two contests the party boy gets another shot at being the starting quarterback. The 49ers stink just as much as the Browns do (well maybe a little more maybe a little less); so I would expect the second year athlete to have some success even with a depleted roster. Johnny should toss a touchdown or two against a mediocre defense, but at least one turnover would not be surprising. That said, the quarterback is expected to play well enough to get a win.
Running Back – I expect Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell to combine for about fifty yards on the ground in this contest – about status quo for this bunch. Perhaps Crowell can bust a longer run or two, but I would not hold my breath. Johnson should be used as a receiver, and I can see him moving the chains with the ball in his hands. Johnny continues to improve and (on blind faith) the guys behind him should perform better as well. The Browns have only a pair of rushing touchdowns this season; I am predicting number three on Sunday.
Wide Receiver – The top three targets for Manziel at the wide receiver position might be Terrelle Pryor, Dwayne Bowe, and Darius Jennings. Everyone else on the roster is hurt for one reason or another – they could come back for this contest, but they will likely not be effective. Travis Benjamin is Manziel’s top target, so if he can return for this matchup it would be a huge bonus for the passing attack. I am pulling for at least one receiving touchdown against the 49ers.
Tight End – Gary Barnidge is a solid athlete, but is only so good. He cannot transform a passing unit by himself (as evidenced by last week’s contest). I anticipate he will come away with a handful of grabs and move the ball on a few occasions. A touchdown would be nice for the veteran, but I do not foresee this coming.
Offensive Line – Again, I know Cameron Erving is playing out of position – but his performance is downright embarrassing. The guys upfront are getting pushed back and blown by on multiple occasions, which is killing this offense. Manziel will likely be hurried all game long and will succumb to pressure leading to sacks. This offensive line has underperformed so much I am feeling so many negative emotions – and am looking forward to next year already.
Defensive Line – So it looks like former Browns’ running back Shaun Draughn will carry the load for the visiting squad. Let’s review, a player not good enough to don the orange and brown faces his former team. He’ll probably come away with at least 115 yards and will continue to make the Browns’ run defense look timid and pathetic. Danny Shelton is trying his best and is looking to pushing the pile backwards. However, when he does this a nearby hole opens up and allows the rusher to pick up yards in large chunks. Maybe the unthinkable can happen and the front can actually stop an opposing runner; but we should all expect to see large rushing totals for the 49ers.
Linebacker – Can Chris Kirksey channel his anger and his aggression from last week into a solid performance? I would love to see it – and am not ready to dismiss this. Couple this with the fact that Karlos Dansby occasionally makes a huge play, and maybe the inside linebackers can actually help in this contest. The issue continues to be the guys on the outside, as Paul Kruger can secure a sack once in a while – but everyone else is clueless when it comes to being a reliable NFL linebacker. A mistake made by Gabbert leading to an accidental sack or two is ideal for the Browns’ defense.
Secondary – Even with Blaine Gabbert under center, the opposing quarterback should make the Browns’ secondary look foolish. Two reasons for this are Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin – the veteran wide outs should find openings and make plays against Charles Gaines, Tramon Williams, and the rest of the Browns’ defenders. Somehow they will force an interception, as they are playing against Blaine Gabbert. Still the unit will be far from great in this contest.
Special Teams: The field goal unit is now prone to blocks, after seeing this occur the past two weeks. Knowing that this contest might come down to a field goal; I have little to no faith that the Browns can pull the game out late. Andy Lee was less than stellar last week as well – everyone playing poorly around him has finally rubbed off on the veteran. The 49ers should win this match up (by consolation).
Coaching: If the coaches enter the contest with a similar offensive game plan to the one they had at Pittsburgh, then they actually might move the ball on a consistent basis. It will come down to getting into the red zone (something that didn’t happen last week) and scoring touchdowns. I don’t know about the defense anymore – maybe all-out blitz on every single play? Could that be worse then what is currently going on?
Prediction (My Record: 8 – 4): I struggle with this one, as the Browns have mailed it in and it appears that everyone will be fired not name Jimmy Haslam. On the other hand, the Browns typically win a game that will kill their draft position (which is at #1 for the moment). I am feeling a 20 – 17 final, with the victors being the 49ers.