Countdown to The Draft
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By: Will Burge
Punishing RG3 – Even though every media member and fantasy football owner is living and dying over every report on Robert Griffin III’s injury, the Browns are not worried. They will prepare for the rookie phenomenon and if he doesn’t play then they will adjust accordingly.
Dick Jauron said today that, “we fully anticipate he will play.” The key to stopping RG3 is in assignment football and everyone having “gap integrity.” That means you have to maintain your lane on the field and never leave position. That is easier said than done.
TJ Ward has a different approach to limiting the most deadly rushing threat at quarterback in the NFL.
“If you let him run and don’t hit him then he is just going to continue to run without fear,” said Ward. “We have to let him know there are consequences for leaving the pocket and trying to run downfield.”
Playoff picture realistic but not important – It has been five years since the Browns were playing meaningful football half way through December. That is the exact position this team finds themselves in as they are officially “in the playoff picture.” To get in they need to win their last three games and need help but that doesn’t mean players are not aware of the situation.
“I guess we all see it on SportsCenter, we see ourselves in the playoff hunt,” said Montario Hardesty. “But like I said earlier…for us to get in we have to win the rest of our games.”
Pat Shurmur has preached a one-game-at-a-time mentality and the players seem to have tunnel vision, even if the media and fans do not.
“It kind of feels good to matter, but we’re still going to look at this next game and focus on right now and not worry about what’s being said or what can happen,” said TJ Ward. “Just make sure whatever needs to happen does, by winning this next game.”
The Browns are on a “playoff caliber” streak right now. Check out the records of the current AFC playoff teams over their last eight games compared to the Browns.
Reality TV stars – The weekly show highlighting the Browns, “NFL Road Tested” on the Travel Channel has been very interesting. I feel as though they should make each episode an hour though.
It does not have a ton of substance behind each story line because of time constraints and I think they could go so much deeper if they were able.
The natural question, however, is now that Jimmy Haslam III allowed this kind of access once, would he do it again for a much bigger stage. Could the Browns end up on “HBO: Hard Knocks” next season?
I talked to one player off the record who said he “wouldn’t mind it” and agreed it would be a huge opportunity for players to market themselves. Haslam is a marketing guy so it could be match made in TV heaven.
|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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