CLEVELAND, Ohio – I scribble in my notebook as the Browns prepare to play the Jets at their home opener.
1. What about winning a house opening? In fact, it has happened more than I thought. Coach Kevin Stefanski is 2-0 in the opening game, so what about Browns fans? Before 2020, you have to go back to 2015 for the last time the Browns won an opening match. Cleveland beat Titans 28-14, maybe The peak of Johnny Manzel’s career with Brown. Mike Petten was the coach. They finished… 1-13… YES!
2. So here comes the Browns with a chance to beat the Jets and be 2-0 for the first time since… 1993. Dare I mention that was the year Bernie Kosar was cut mid-season? Yikes! Why does so much of Brown’s recent history sometimes start off well but end with a bad feeling?
3. Well, today’s game. You can look at the planes and say, “They stink.” They have 137-year-old Joe Flacco in QB. Let’s be fair, he’s only 37 years old. When he was with Baltimore, it was 17-3 against Brown. Flacco started against his old team last week, with the Ravens beating the Jets, 27-9. In his last three years with the Jets, Flacco was 0-6 as a rookie.
4. There is a word of caution in the Baltimore Browns game. The crows only ran 63 yards in 21 chariots in that game. Airplanes have a good line of defense. They have former Raven C.J. Mosley’s team as full-back. It’s older, but still a good plug for running. Lamar Jackson was only 17 yards in six gigs. The longest run in Baltimore was 10 yards.
5. A top NFL executive gave me an exploratory report saying Brown could run the ball on planes. They can play it on anyone with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. But they won’t turn it off as easily as they did in last week’s 26-24 victory in Carolina. In that game, Chubb and Hunt combined for 187 yards in 33 coaches. Hunt also scored two TD points.
6. I heard that the Jets will focus on stopping Brown’s running game – no surprise. But a senior NFL person told me that the Jets are likely to play soft pass coverage, mostly area. They will give Cleveland short throws and some medium ones. They want to get away from the big pass play. This can really help Brown.
7. Brown’s team idea would be to commit the ball control offense, let Jacoby Brissett hit some ‘safe throws’. This is especially true if the Jets play that soft cover. This could be a good day for Brissett to get the same football rhythm with Amari Cooper and tight end David Njoku. It’s still hard to believe that Njoku played 71 of 80 shots in Carolina and was only targeted once.
8. The Gates threw the ball 59 times in their loss to Baltimore. I repeat, They threw it fifty-nine times!!! Yes, the Jets fell 10-0 in the first half. But 59 passes for Joe Flacco? Let’s hope the planes go with the same game plan. Of the 79 attacking passes, they called 62 passes – counting three sacks.
9. THE AIRCRAFT HAVE SOME GOOD RECEIVERS, ESPECIALLY IF THE BROWN REPEAT THEIR COVERAGE COVERAGE. Former Ohio State star Garrett Wilson will play his second pro game. I’ve always loved Cory Davis, who played in western Michigan. This is not the time to repeat the two coverages Brown made in Carolina last week.
10. This should be a good match for Brown to chew the clock and put some points on the board when attacking. Defense must be able to control aircraft. No excuses for losing. Prediction: Browns 20, Jets 10.
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