Countdown to The Draft
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By: Will Burge
Two of the big guns are good to go – After some uncertainty over both their status’ for Sunday, it looks like Brandon Weeden and Josh Cribbs will both play against Oakland.
Weeden was an important start for many reasons. First of all, he needs to establish himself as a leader on this team and show Jimmy Haslam III that he is “the guy” moving forward. This was a huge bounce back after his perceived excuse making about the Dallas loss. The Browns also needed his big arm in what could be very bad weather conditions. The “pineapple express” storm could create heavy rain and winds which Colt McCoy would not be able to throw in as effectively.
Finally, The Raiders come in as one of the worst pass defenses in the league (24th) and giving up the most touchdowns through the air in the NFL. McCoy has a history of not testing the defense over the top while Weeden has a reputation for doing so.
As for Cribbs, he could very well have a big day returning kicks. According to FootballOutsiders.com, Oakland has the 30th ranked kick coverage unit in the league.
I think one of the biggest elements the Browns offense has lacked this year has been the spark that Cribbs supplies. Not necessarily in the passing game but more so from his returns. When Cribbs gets one out near the 50 yard line, the offense seems to always convert a touchdown.
Pro-Bowl Dawson – Some players have already taken to twitter to try and get Phil Dawson into the Pro-Bowl for the first time in his career. Dawson admitted today that when he plays against a team he likes to compete with the opposing kicker and this week he will battle one of the biggest names (and people) at his position, Sabastian Janikowski.
Janikowski is 12th all time in accuracy (among kickers with at least 199 games) converting at an 81% clip. Dawson, however, is 1st all time in that category kicking at an 85% clip.
He should have a Pro-Bowl spot just about locked up anyway, but if Dawson goes into Janikowski’s house and out kicks him in bad weather then it will really be a wrap.
Behind the scenes – Next Tuesday night at 10pm “NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns” premiers on the Travel Channel. The show will give an unprecedented look behind the scenes as the Browns travel to face several road foes.
Pat Shurmur said today that he is always worried about giving away strategy or secrets to other teams but that the film crew did a good job of not becoming a distraction.
Phil Dawson said the crew went home with him to Austin, Texas during the bye week to film his family life. Garth Gerhart was interviewed to get the perspective of a day in the life of a practice squad player.
Also interviewed for the special were Ben Watson, Brandon Weeden, and Joe Haden.
Jimmy Haslam III did a great job setting this up for the Browns. It will do wonders for the national perception and marketing of the organization.
|Will Burge covers the Browns for ESPNCleveland.com and hosts 3 Deep, Monday - Friday from 7pm-9pm.|
Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge
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