So, much to our surprise the Browns are off to an 0-2 start. It’s not really a surprise, but it is really frustrating. The Browns have let two winnable games go in the 2nd half and they are sitting as one of the few winless teams in the NFL. The next 7 weeks look to be pretty unwinnable, but I will still concoct a few things that could be keys to the Browns figuring out how to win a game, even against much tougher opposition. So let’s look at a few things that are key to the Browns beating the rival Baltimore Ravens.
– Most importantly. Play a full 4 quarters. Both games thus far have seen the Browns getting shutout in the 2nd half and wasting a strong defensive effort in both cases. They must figure out how to stay in the the game for a full 4 quarters, rather than barely playing well for the first half and then giving up all together.
– To stick with my mantra of the past 2 weeks. RUN. THE. FOOTBALL. It has been effective when the Browns have decided to do so. Hillis and Harrison are combining for about 5 yards per carry, so that should definitely be a good game plan. Part of the 2nd half struggles is that the Browns appear to be attempting to be a passing team without the passing team personnel, the team is built for running the football. Quarterback is still a position of question, so why take a risk and throw 30 or 40 times a game when you don’t have to?
– Josh Cribbs. The offense needs to move the ball however it can. Who better than the Dreadlocked one to get some momentum going for this struggling team. He showed his big play ability last week on the 60+ yard touchdown catch, so the Browns should try to give him the ball in several different ways.
– Be creative. The team was so predictable last week that the Chiefs poor defense was able to see everything coming from a mile away. The only way the Browns have a chance to do anything against this Ravens defense is to get creative and try to vary their offensive looks and formations, run the no huddle, run the Flash, run a hurry-up. Do whatever possible to get their desired pace going, keep the Ravens off – balance and keep them guessing. That is the key to getting past a strong defense.
– Keep pressure on Flacco. The Bengals rattled him early and often and it made him look really really bad. If the Browns can come close to replicating that kind of pass rush and coverage they can make this a winnable football game and limit the potential of the Ravens offense. The Browns have been able to force turnovers and get pressure on the QB fairly well the last 2 weeks, and that really must continue. They need to make Flacco have another really bad day.
– Shut down Boldin. With Eric Wright and Sheldon Brown, even Joe Haden, we can put some tight pressure on Boldin and vary the looks we give him. Force him to work hard to get open and don’t let him get in behind the secondary. Try to force them to throw to Todd Heap and Houshmanzadeh, who while are threats, are not as explosive as Boldin. TJ Ward or Abe Elam can do a nice job against Heap or a slot receiver when necessary.
– Limit big plays. The D has been doing a good job of not giving up huge plays so far, so hopefully they can keep Ray Rice and company bottled up. It all goes back to getting pressure on Flacco and stopping their offense from establishing a rhythm.
LET’S GO BROWNS -hopefully they can give us something better to watch this weekend.