Baltimore Beatdown traded five questions with the SB Nation blogger on the Cleveland Browns. Chris also gave me five questions and I'll provide the link to their site at the end of this so you can see his questions and my responses.
1. What is the biggest difference between the 2009 and 2010 versions of the Browns?
That depends on which version of the 2009 Cleveland Browns you are
referring to, because there really were two different teams. On one hand,
you had the team that started the season at 1-11 and had no hope. On the
other hand, you had a team that finished the season with a four-game
winning streak, and a reason for optimism.
On an overall basis, one thing that can be said is that our defense
appears to be much more stable than it was in 2009. I would attribute that
to improvements made in the offseason in the secondary. Rookie safety T.J.
Ward already leads the team in tackles, forced a fumble in Week 1, and
just simply doesn't let people break away from him. Veteran Sheldon Brown
broke up a deep pass in Week 1, and then intercepted a deep pass last week
in man-to-man coverage. Opposing quarterbacks have only thrown for one
true touchdown in my book over the past two weeks. The Ravens will feature
the most impressive group of receivers of the Browns' three match-ups to
date, but I think they are ready for the challenge.
2. What player should we learn more about before we see him Sunday?
Ravens fans should get to know second-year linebacker Marcus Benard. He
has been the Browns' best pass-rusher in training camp and the first two
weeks, notching 2.5 sacks and getting pressure on the quarterback at other
times. He comes from different directions in certain packages (he is not
an everydown linebacker yet), but if anyone is going to get pressure on
Joe Flacco, it'll be him.
3. The Browns came real close to victories the first two games and actually could easily be 2-0 instead of 0-2. What is the biggest issue with winning and closing out those games?
Although you could definitely place the blame on Jake Delhomme and Seneca
Wallace each throwing horrible sideline pick sixes before half-time in
each game as the difference maker, the Browns still led at halftime in
both games. The problem has been that it has been a tale of two halves for
the Browns' offense -- in the first half, we look like a very good
offense. We're averaging about 14 points in the first half, which isn't
too shabby. In the second half, we're putting zeros on the board and not
even managing first downs. Our offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll,
doesn't seem to know what he wants to do. Hopefully the solution is to use
the Wildcat more, since it's at least something innovative.
4. Does QB Seneca Wallace pose a real threat to the Ravens defense and if the Browns can't run on the Ravens, can Wallace get the job done with his arm (or legs)?
Although he is athletic, Wallace has never been a quarterback who gashes
opposing defenses because he is mobile. Sure, it might come in handy here
and there, but it's not a significant advantage or anything. I'm not very
excited about Wallace facing the Ravens defense, BECAUSE of his legs. I
fear that the Ravens will bring heavy pressure on Wallace, forcing him to
move out of the pocket and lose sight of the defense. From there, he's
prone to make an errant throw or run out of bounds because the defenders
are on him faster than he expected. In terms of his arm, he does make
pretty good throws on the run, so a few designed rollouts (as opposed to
improvised runs) might work. His deep ball last week against the Chiefs
was pretty bad though. Although he did connect on one for a touchdown,
about six other throws were well ahead of open receivers.
5. How are the fans dealing with the new regime and the continued losing, plus predict the final score.
Right now, not too many people are upset with the new regime, or even Eric
Mangini. Most of the blame has gone toward Brian Daboll for the lack of
creative/smart playcalling in the second half of games. Until I actually
see the offense correct their second-half woes, there's no way I can pick
the Browns to win. My final score prediction might change before Sunday,
but the result won't. Ravens 21, Browns 10.
(Click here to go to Dawgs By Nature to see Chris' Q&A with me, but behave!)