This past week, the Cleveland Browns (disappointingly) fell to the Indianapolis Colts, 31-28. Although that game might have been frustrating, there’s no reason to dwell on the past. Rather, this football team must continue to look to the future. This week, the Browns return to the friendly confines of FirstEnergy Stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals. While both teams are 0-3, the Bengals close loss to the Packers last week suggests that there is more to them that meets the eye. But what can Cleveland do in order to send the Bengals to 0-4? These are the week four Browns keys to victory.
Week Four Cleveland Browns Keys to Victory
1) Duke and Leslie: More Touches
Last week, two players on the Browns made some pretty amazing plays. Those two players were Duke Johnson and Jordan Leslie. One of the plays was a touchdown, and the other gave the Browns a huge boost of momentum. This week, Hue Jackson has to give those two more touches or targets, or more playing time at the very least. Right now, Leslie looks like he could be DeShone Kizer‘s best receiving option. With Corey Coleman out for a while, and Kenny Britt looking like he doesn’t want to be there 90% of the time, Kizer is stripped of weapons. However, Leslie could be just the man he’s looking for.
The whole Duke Johnson thing is weird because Isaiah Crowell was supposed to have a career season. He nearly rushed for 1,000 yards last year behind one of the league’s worst offensive line. Then, the Browns heavily upgraded on the line for this year, and Crowell is performing…worse. If Crowell truly wants to get paid like he says, his performance for Cleveland so far this year won’t cut it. Really, it might be best for Johnson to replace him in the long-term. Either way, he should be seeing more touches this week.
2) You Can’t Stop Him, But You Can Contain Him
A.J. Green is a phenomenal receiver. That’s sort of just the bottom line of things. However, it’s starting to show that he is really carrying quarterback Andy Dalton. So, what can the Browns do? Well, play good defense, but that’s obvious. Here’s where Joe Haden might have come in handy, as he had a really cool habit of making Green look mediocre at best. But the Browns don’t have Haden anymore, so let’s leave that strategy in the past.
Right now, the Browns need to know that really, they don’t have a weapon of mass destruction on this matter. They just don’t. But with the way Green is playing, no one does. Rather, they need to use the tools they do have to try to contain Green. Just like last week, this involves having Jabrill Peppers at least in close proximity to the rest of the defense. The Guardian Angel tactic isn’t working with him, Gregg Williams. It just isn’t.
3) Take Any and All Small Advantages
This is both a combination of everything we’ve talked about before, and a new strategy in itself. With such a young team, in fact the youngest in the league, the Browns need to play scrappy. NBA fans will remember the young and inexperienced Boston Celtics. That team was a perfect example of playing a scrappy, defensive style that the Browns should replicate. That team’s big thing was being a nuisance to their opponent. If the Browns can “pain in the ass” their way through this game, they’ll have a nice shot at a victory. To accomplish this, they’ll need to take advantage of every little thing, and notice the details a lot more than before.
First of all, the Browns must exploit the Bengals downright putrid offensive line. This Bengals team lost both Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler in free agency, and that was just the start. Both Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher have been dealing with illnesses recently, so they’re obviously not at 100%. Additionally, the Browns secondary will need to take advantage of Andy Dalton’s relative ineptitude this season. This means no dropping picks, attempting to contain A.J. Green, and again, keeping Jabrill Peppers in relative closeness to the defense.
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