Posted by Andrew Kluge
The Browns go in to Kansas City to face Andy Reid‘s 7-0 Chiefs. They are starting their third quarterback this season while coming off a two game losing streak. Grab a Christmas Ale, because there’s a few things we should go over for the Browns to pull off the improbable this Sunday.
1) Jason Campbell Can’t Turn The Ball Over
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner has to make Campbell as comfortable in the pocket as possible when he’s calling plays from the sidelines. Our pass protection will be key in allowing him to complete passes. But I’m still not sure we’re going to see much of a difference in Campbell than Weeden. They both throw short of first downs too often. They both hold the ball too long. Against a defense like Kansas City, that is one thing he cannot do. He needs to get the ball out quickly to Cameron or Gordon. Kansas City currently has the highest turnover ratio in the NFL – a product of their quick pass rush. One difference between Weeden and Campbell is he doesn’t seem to panic in the pocket as much; his interceptions usually come when he’s throwing long down field. If the Browns pull off a win on Sunday, look for Campbell to have a QBR of 75 or better.
One thing that Campbell has going for him is the Andy Reid’s respect: “Listen, Jason, I think, is a good football player. I have had a chance to have teams compete against him, and he knows what he’s doing. He was pretty good in college, and he is good in the pros. We’ll prepare for their scheme, and I think that’s the important part of it. I don’t think they’re going to change a ton of what they do. I mean, that’s not what you do in these situations.”
2) Contain Charles
I had the chance to take Jamaal Charles this year during our annual fantasy football draft. I didn’t want him and neither did a handful of guys I’m in the league with. The guy who took him? He’s undefeated and in first place.
Jamaal Charles is a big reason why the Chiefs are playing so well. He’s third in the league in rushing with 561 yards and also has 337 receiving yards while posting eight touchdowns. D’Qwell Jackson and Craig Robertson are going to have to step up and contain him. Teams are targeting our inside linebackers and Ray Horton needs to find a way to close the passing hole in the middle of the field. The bulk of the load falls squarely on the inside linebackers. They are the weak link in this defense and if they implode, look for Charles to have a big game.
3) Run The Ball
The Chiefs get to the quarterback better than any other defense in the NFL. As a result, QB’s tend to turnover the ball more. This is exactly what Campbell can’t do. If there is a weak part in Kansas City’s game, it’s their run defense. Also, Campbell is a question mark, we don’t know how he’ll fair throwing the ball.
The Browns need to get Travis Benjamin involved from the get-go. He’s only had six touches this year on offense for 150 yards. Norv Turner is going to have to get creative when attacking this defense and Benjamin is part of the solution. Using the ground attack with help to ease the pressure Campbell is sure to see.
4) Dynamic Duo: Gordon & Cameron
If the run game helps to give Campbell more time in the pocket, Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron need to get the ball. Currently, Cameron leads the team in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. His reception total currently leads all of the NFL’s tight ends. Gordon has seen his share of targets and is currently at 450 yards receiving during his 5 game season, and his game should find a boost with Campbell taking the snaps.
These two will have to play a big role on offense alongside an efficient run game to help create holes in the KC defense. If the pass protection is working, look for these two to continue producing.
5) Third Down Efficiency
The Browns are ranked 29th in 3rd down efficiency. They allow opponents to convert 45.3 percent of the time. Who’s at the top of the list? Kansas City.
Ray Horton has been working on a way to combat this problem. His quote from a Washington Post article last week sheds some light: “You look at all the third downs, the major area of concern to me is third-and-four to third and nine,” he said. “We’re grossly deficient in getting off (the field). I look at every call. It’s a great balance of zone and man. I look at the plays that are bad, meaning why do we not win? I keep saying it’s us. It’s not the other team. Nobody’s shocking us by coming out and running some revolutionary new offense.
“It really comes down to us and that’s what we’re focusing on is us being more focused on our detail, and that seems to be the major thing when I look at it.”
The Browns need to pull out all the stops on offense and get everyone involved to make this win a possibility. They haven’t had very much luck in the air, so this will have to start on the ground. With Benjamin & Gordon getting involved in the backfield, maybe even MarQueis Gray making an appearance during a wildcat, the Browns will be able put up some points on offense. The most important part of the Browns defense this Sunday is the inside linebackers. They need to contain KC’s running backs & tight ends – something they didn’t do against Detroit or Green Bay.