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Posted by Nov - 3 - 2011 0 Comment

Things the voices in my head are arguing about regarding this Sunday’s game:

  • The Houston Texans have to be chomping at the bit with the Browns coming to town Sunday. The Texans have a ferocious defense and a dynamic offense, one which expects WR Andre Johnson to return to the starting lineup this weekend. The Browns have a solid, respectable defense, and an offense that…well…(in the words of Reggie Bush) stinks. While the Browns defense could put up enough of a fight to keep the Texans score respectable, the offense is good enough to possibly get shut out. Houston’s defense is that good. They rush the passer extremely well, their linebackers are big and fast, and the secondary is experienced. The Browns will have to play mistake-free football to have any scoring opportunities. And when they do, they must find a way to make the most of it.

 

  • Barring a setback, the Browns will have Peyton Hillis back in the backfield this week. Its hard to imagine that he’ll get the 20-25 touches he should get in a given game, but at this point any plays he’s able to contribute on will be appreciated. I just can’t imagine the Texans are worried about the two-pronged ground attack of Chris Ogbannaya and Thomas Clayton.

 

  • This week, I am genuinely worried about the health of Colt McCoy. The Texans get after the quarterback as well as anyone. The Browns offensive line couldn’t block my view of the television. McCoy has to find ways to get rid of the football quickly, even more so than usual. Otherwise, he will be burping up football leather and grass while recovering in a Houston hospital Sunday night.

 

  • If he does survive the game, Colt must find ways to improve his game regardless of the opponent. Things are not going to get easier, so he must get better at the things he can control. It’s obvious that he lacks playmakers around him. He still must find a means to make plays himself that don’t always end in him scrambling. He has to find confidence in something, and a good place to start is with himself and only he can do that. Once he finds that, he’s gonna have to find a way to trust the guys around him, even though they haven’t given him much reason to.

 

  • So given my overly optimistic appraisal of the Browns situation heading into Sunday’s game, what reasons might the Browns have to think they have a chance to win Sunday? Well, you can say that the Texans are beatable. Oakland proved that a month ago when they shocked the Texans in Houston 25-20. One could say the Texans overlooked the sub-.500 Raiders that day, while others will say it was an emotional buzz saw the home team ran into, given the passing of Al Davis the day before. Regardless, the Texans gave up a win on their home soil against a team they shouldn’t have. Can the Browns be the second team to do that to them in a month’s time?

 

  • The Browns defense again faces a formidable running attack. After last season, everyone knows who Arian Foster is. Though he has struggled with some injuries this year, his backfield partner Ben Tate has filled in admirably, so the Browns will have plenty to contend with when Matt Schaub hands the ball off. If Andre Johnson is back, the Browns defense must find a way to not let the team get behind early, regardless of the offense’s success or lack thereof. Pressure and hits on Schaub might be a good way to do that. Just do so without letting Foster and Tate run roughshod over you.

 

  • When one looks at the Browns offense they see a glass half empty, the defense a glass half full. Then you see it in the hands of Pat Shurmur and realize it’s a sippy cup. At some point this season, Shurmur must mature in his perspective on his young team by coaching and playcalling to the strengths of his team as they are right now, and not continue to pound square pegs into round holes so defiantly. This is no more obvious than his perspective on Colt McCoy and the shotgun formation. When asked this week about McCoy’s history as being successful in the shotgun, Shurmur commented that he needs to be as successful under center. That is not an untrue statement, but it’s also an indictment of Shurmur and his mindset of forcing his players to conform to the system that remains unproven under his management of it. Yes, McCoy absolutely has to be as good under center as he is in the shotgun. But when your defense has somehow managed to put your team in a position to still be in a game and (gasp) potentially win it, set formations and call plays that your offense has found success in, even if it falls outside of what you ultimately want your offense to execute. But if for no other reason (aside from you know, trying to win the %#@&ing game), you owe it to your defense to put your offense out there in their best position to be successful, and do so with a sense of confidence and urgency.

 

  • Phil Dawson, you were right two weeks ago in your tweet. We should appreciate the job the Browns defense has and continues to do. We are also proud to have called you a Brown as long as we have. Here’s hoping your head coach appreciates it and takes advantage of opportunities that defense provides. It would be nice if the three points you score on Sunday comes on three kicks rather than just one.

 

  • While most games in the NFL fall under the overused statement of “must-win”. The Browns this week, in my humble opinion, have the luxury of this game not being considered as such. The Browns are not only expected to lose, but lose badly. So will a close loss provide the fans with a moral victory and help relieve the fans’ tensions regarding this franchise? Will coming out and simply showing well be good enough? Personally, I’ve never subscribed to that mentality, and the uninspiring state of this team right now isn’t enough to make me change my mentality. A loss is a loss. Still, the Browns must at least start looking like a team that has winning as a priority rather than simply the fringe benefit of becoming more successful in Shurmur’s new system. This week, that challenge is as great as winning itself. Texans 31, Browns 13.
Categories: Cleveland Browns

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