Thursday seems like as good a day as any to start talking about this weekend’s Browns matchup in Baltimore against the defending champion Ravens. It hurt to say that, but the good news is how bad Baltimore looked in their opener at Mile High. With that being said, the thin air, loss of major weapons on both sides of the ball and some guy named Peyton Manning all played major (and understandable) factors in the blowout. It’s certainly to be expected that the Ravens will play a much improved game this Sunday.
Since we’re just here to get the blood flowing on a Thursday afternoon, here’s a nice discussion from ESPN bloggers Matt Williamson and Jamison Hensley on this weekend’s meeting. Generally, they’re right. The Ravens will certainly be the favorite despite their poor showing in Denver, and they deserve it.
Here are some bullets for your reading pleasure as we anxiously await Sunday:
– Chud and company released their first injury injury report of the week yesterday, and it looks pretty good. T.J. Ward didn’t practice, but he’s out there today according to the Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich. Ahtyba Rubin is reportedly doing work on the side, and offensive guard Shaun Lauvao isn’t on the field with the team this afternoon.
– The Browns’ first game last Sunday deserves some patience with the team adjusting to new schemes on offense and defense. We discussed the positives in the game wrap up earlier in the week, and continuing to get familiar with the new systems can only help this team progress. Plenty of ugliness happened in the opener against a decidedly average Dolphins team, but focusing on the improvements is the only way to remain sane.
– Seeing Barkevious Mingo back on the practice field in any capacity is a good sign, and hopefully Rubin will join him on the list of participants soon. Having those two back in the rotation of the front seven will help combat the fatigue that was apparent last Sunday. Keeping the offense on the field is the most effective way to keep the defense fresh, but a bit of a depleted group of guys up front didn’t help. The most encouraging thing was the front seven’s effectiveness when they were fresh at the beginning of the game. They could have been better, as Dennis Manoloff notes today on Cleveland.com, but they were clearly the best part of the afternoon until they were gassed.
– Paul Kruger should help the defensive unit against his former team, and he’ll be excited to get out there and do things like rip off heads.
#browns LB Paul Kruger, do u want to go to Baltimore and rip somebody’s head off? “Absolutely! It’s going to be intense.”
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) September 12, 2013
That should be pretty awesome, especially if he gives one of these after he viciously sacks Joe Flacco for the third or fourth time.
– Manoloff noted how good the Browns’ run defense was against Miami, and if you check out their ESPN “Clubhouse”, you’ll see that they allowed the fewest yards to rushers in week one. Ray Rice will be a nice little test in that department.
– Speaking of running the ball, the good guys didn’t do much better than the Dolphins, with Trent Richardson only tallying 47 yards. Luckily, Browns OC Norv Turner has heard the call of the needy, and plans to give Richardson a bigger workload in week two. Trent and all of his extra muscles can’t wait, and neither can anyone else.
We’re all trying not to forget about the Cavs, as they are in their “nothing is happening” period of the calendar. If you think that they’re all doing nothing, think again. Tyler Zeller is puttin’ in the work. If your diet also relies heavily on Krispy Kremes, Zeller has finally validated your nutritional philosophy. Be proud of who you are.
That’s going to do it for now, and since the Browns portion of the proceedings ended up going a little longer than planned (shocking), the Indians will get their turn tomorrow on the blog. Their series against Kansas City wasn’t exactly inspiring, but the Tribe will see the Chicago White Sox tonight at U.S. Cellular Field to open up a four-game set and forget about the whole thing. Indians righty Corey Kluber will get the ball against John Danks, who has been pretty bad, much like the rest of the South Siders. Keep the faith, the Wild Card is still only 1.5 games away with 17 to play.