By Bruno Vanderhoof
After one week of offensive football that was nothing short of, well, offensive. The Browns will try and put week one’s loss to Miami in the rear view mirror, and prepare for what should be a very prepared and motivated Baltimore Ravens team.
Baltimore is coming off an embarrassing nationally televised loss on opening night – on the road no less. First being disrespected as Superbowl champs by having to play on the road, and second being carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey by Peyton Manning.
They will be playing in front of a berserk home crowd, will be hanging their championship banner, and will be extremely motivated to destroy their weaker division rivals. So what did we see in week one that leads us to Baltimore.
The Browns need to run the ball more. Simple. Every website and/or TV broadcast has realized and addressed the fact. As well, I am sure the coaching staff has realized that they are not coaching the Oregon Ducks.
Trent Richardson is still this offense’s best skill player, and was having some success early in the game against Miami. The offensive line needs to develop some confidence, and straight ahead run blocking is one way of establishing that. T-Rich was a number three overall pick, so use him as such. Thirty carries should not be out of reason.
Along those same lines, Richardson needs to be involved more in the passing game…. and not as a blocker. Rather than let an aggressive front seven pin their ears back and relentlessly chase the quarterback, throw a screen or a swing pass once in a while. Richardson needs to be the workhorse, especially with Gordon out of the line up.
Slow it down. We saw the success of a fast offense with the Eagles on Monday night. The Browns are definitely not the Eagles and don’t need to run a two minute offense. A six or seven minute offense would likely serve this group much better.
This offense needs a real fullback. They needed to give the right side of the line some help on Sunday, and with all due respect to Chris Ogbannaya, he was not it.
All of Norv Turner’s RB success stories in the past had legitimate fullbacks paving the way for them. I know this regime is dead against signing free agents upwards of 27 or 28 years old for whatever reason, but please tell me how Lawrence Vickers could not do anything but help Richardson, Weeden, and this offensive line right now.
This team has issues converting third downs. They are only going to be more difficult to convert against this Baltimore defense.
Jordan Cameron will not likely see the separation and open field he saw on Sunday. The Baltimore secondary looks somewhat susceptible, but that means for Weeden & co. to have any success on third down it needs to be third and manageable.
Maybe it’s just my simple football mind, but for this team to have any success through the air, the defense needs to at least consider that the offense might actually run the ball.
Bringing me to this veteran coaching staff. These guys are proven successful football minds, so they have to be able to make the proper adjustments. Miami adjusted to what the Browns were doing on defense, and won the game because of it. The Browns offense abandoned the run game early, and became one dimensional and predictable.
Quite simply, the Browns were out coached – something that should have been the least of our worries heading in to the match-up with the Dolphins.
Baltimore will most assuredly be ready for the Browns on Sunday. I expect them to be fast, sharp, and on top of their game like the Superbowl champs they are.
The Browns will need to hang on early and not let Flacco light up their secondary. They will need to be bullish trying to establish the run, even it it’s not bearing any fruit. They will need to slow it down and keep the Ravens O on the sidelines.
And last but most definitely not least, they will have to out play and out coach the reigning NFL champs on their home field, on opening day…. Sounds simple doesn’t it?
Follow me on Twitter @BrunoVanderhoof
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