Cleveland Browns: Matt Roth Set To Bring The Heat In Miami Return
This past Thursday, LeBron James returned to Cleveland and led the Miami Heat to a blowout win over his former team. Now it's Cleveland's turn for payback as the Browns travel to Miami to take on a Dolphins team fighting to stay in the playoff mix.
Browns linebacker Matt Roth may not be a superstar on the same level as James, but he is one of Cleveland's best defensive players and he is set to have a big game against the team that took him 46th overall in the 2005 NFL draft.
Roth has said that revenge won't be a factor for him in Sunday's game, but it is doubtful that anyone really believes that statement.
The Cleveland Browns head to Miami looking for another big upset in what will be a hard-fought game that could hinge on a single play or player.
Here are a few reasons why Matt Roth could be the difference-maker who changes the course of the game and why he could help lead the Browns to victory.
Roth Knows The Dolphins Well
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Roth spent just over four seasons and 65 games with the Miami Dolphins, and you can bet he knows the team inside and out. Not only has Roth stood side by side with Miami defenders on gameday, but he has went up against the offense countless times in practice.
You can bet that Roth is well aware of Miami players' weaknesses on both sides of the football, and Browns coach Eric Mangini loves to utilize that type of inside knowledge.
For proof of that, simply look at Scott Fujita and the way his familiarity with the New Orleans Saints helped provide a game plan that led the Browns to a monumental upset over the defending Super Bowl champions.
Expect the Browns to come out swinging with a game plan custom made for the Miami Dolphins that should keep the game competitive down to the final whistle.
Eric Mangini Also Knows The Dolphins
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Mangini's experience as head coach of the New York Jets has allowed the Browns to play some of their best football against AFC East opponents in 2010.
Mangini is very familiar with the Miami Dolphins, having faced the team twice a year during his time in New York. In three season as the Jets' head coach, Mangini went 5-1 against Miami, and only a Farve-tastic meltdown at quarterback in the final game of 2008 kept him from a perfect record against the Dolphins.
There have been a lot of changes in Miami since Mangini coached in the AFC East, but many of the same faces remain, and Mangini should have a good idea of how to attack the Dolphins in all phases of the game. Expect Mangini to use Roth in a large role on Sunday as the Browns look to earn another victory over an AFC East opponent.
Miami's Offensive Line Is Struggling
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As an outside linebacker in Cleveland's 3-4 defense, Matt Roth is often at his best bringing pressure into an opponent's backfield and Roth loves to get after the quarterback.
While Roth only has 3.5 sacks so far this season, he has several quarterback hits and his pressure often leads to quarterback mistakes and his 7 tackles for a loss also show his ability to get into the backfield early.
Look for Roth to showcase this ability against a Miami offensive line that has struggled to protect the quarterback as of late. So far this season, the Dolphins have allowed 22 sacks, several more quarterback hits and a season ending injury to backup quarterback Chad Pennington.
Quarterback Chad Henne has also missed time this season due to injury and constant pressure has been a large factor in his 12 interceptions thrown.
If Roth can take full advantage and spend a large part of the game in the Dolphin's backfield, it would go a long way toward a Browns victory.
Revenge Will Be a Factor
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Make no mistake, even if Roth has publicly said otherwise, he wants to stick it to his former team.
Roth has said that he is still unsure exactly why he was ever waived by Miami, and no one from the Dolphins organization has maid it clear why the decision was made.
Whatever the reason, Roth is a Brown now, and Cleveland is happy to have him. By all accounts, Roth is happy to be a member of The Cleveland Browns, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want a little revenge against the Miami Dolphins for casting him aside.
Expect maximum effort and a big game from Roth on Sunday. Like every other player who has been inexplicably ousted from a team while in their prime, Roth will be looking to show that letting him go was a mistake.
Roth Is Playing For a Long-Term Contract
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As most fans are well aware, Matt Roth spent part of the off-season as a hold out, seeking a long-term contract extension, a wish that was not granted.
Roth eventually signed his one-year RFA tender and has played out the season in hopes that he can prove that he is deserving of a long term deal.
Only time will tell if Roth is in the Browns' future plans, but he seems to really enjoy being in Cleveland, recently stating "I love the town, I love the fans," and "I want to be a Brown."
Roth has played well in 2010 and has been one of the brightest spots on Cleveland's young defense. To date, Roth is tied for third on the team with 53 total tackles and is also tied for third with 3.5 sacks. It certainly seems that Roth deserves an extended stay in a Browns uniform.
What better way to prove that he belongs than by putting forth a dominant performance against his former team on Sunday?