Coming in with a surprising three game winning streak, the Cleveland Browns host the Washington Redskins in two days. Backed by their awesome fan base, the Browns have been playing sound football. Eleven of the thirteen games Cleveland has played, they have been in. So what’s it going to take to make it four in a row? Here’s what the orange helmets must accomplish on Sunday.
This contest could be much like week 12’s battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That will all depend on if Robert Griffin III plays. If RG3 does not play, I expect to see a ton of Alfred Morris, the surprising sixth round pick who has emerged as a promising young running back. Cleveland has to slow Morris down and he must not get five yards a carry. In some ways, he reminds me of a Jamal Lewis type back. Morris is physical and runs low. If this game turns in to a grind it out match, the Browns have to ready to hit Morris with everything they have.
Get after Kirk Cousins and shell shock him. The Redskins are going to try to shorten the game and win the time of possession battle. The Browns have to win time of possession in this one. Now if Griffin III does play, Cleveland should devise their own “bounty” system and hit him where it hurts. It’s football, its physical, and players are going to get hurt. It’s our eleven best players versus your eleven best players.
This may be a game where playing zones on defense may be a huge key. Washington has four stud receivers that are all fast and can all get yards after the catch. The Browns would be smart to “stay home” in their zones and make whichever QB plays make smart decisions. The orange helmets will get beat all day long in man-to-man coverage. Maybe a Cover 3 or Cover 4 would make the most sense.
Don’t leave points on the board and don’t challenge stupid plays. Although it didn’t matter last week, on first and goal, Pat Shurmur challenged a run by Josh Cribbs that he tried to stretch the ball over the goal line before his knee hit the ground. The replay clearly showed Cribbs’ knee was down at the one yard line. Yet, Shurmur challenged and lost a timeout for no reason whatsoever. This weekend’s game will not be a blow out and time outs are going to be needed, not wasted. I am available on Sunday if you want me to watch the replays over and over to make sure you challenge or not Coach Shurmur.
I was right last week on needing a special teams score. I’m going to use it again this week. The Browns discovered the have a speedy mini clone of Bob Marley last week named Travis Benjamin. Get him back there to return again! Benjamin is Will Ferrell in Talledega Nights, he is Ricky Bobby and he wants to go fast. Even if the rookie doesn’t go to the house, great field position is almost guaranteed.
Please don’t force the ball Brandon Weeden. Redskins’ defensive back DeAngelo Hall and his group are too smart to fall for any of Weeden’s pump fakes. Without a doubt, Hall and Madieu Williams will try to bait Weeden in to some throws. BW3 needs to avoid them at all costs.
While the Redskins fight for a playoff spot, the Browns find themselves “in the hunt” as well. Though its a long shot, the Browns and their loyal fans realize that it has become a three game season for them. None of the last three opponents horrify Cleveland and they just need to take it one game at a time.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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