The Cleveland Browns are not out of the race people.
The Browns have astounded me with their performance last Monday. They took down the Super Bowl champs at their house. Why is it so important where? Because the Giants were on a 12 game road winning streak. They lost on unlucky 13 when they tried to survive in the Dawg Pound.
I watched the game hoping for an upset. It would just make the 6th week of the season, the week of upsets. The Redskins lost to the Rams, the Cowboys lost to the Cardinals, The Bears lost by a last-second field goal, the Texans survived a nail-biter against the Dolphins, and the Vikings scraped a win against Detroit. Their was more drama in last week's football games than in All My Children and General Hospital combined.
The Browns were expected to be destroyed, especially with the passing attack, but they hung in, and picked off Eli Manning three times including one for six points. The Browns dominated the offensive line with tackle Shaun Rogers. Eric Wright taking an interception back should make the secondary competitive amongst themselves and cause more interceptions.
They are starting a winning streak, and I hope they continue it at Washington D.C. The Redskins should provide a challenge to them, and I think the Browns can take them if this team stays together. This new Browns team could rebound after this. But there are some changes that need to be made.
STOP COMMITTING PENALTIES!
This is the most penalized team in the league. Before last Monday, they averaged 9.3 penalties per game. Then they have 12 penalties against the Giants. They have to stop. No more false starts, no more holds, no more personal fouls. This is essential, because without those penalties, quarterback Derek Anderson gets less pressure and more chances to do something with the ball. To quote John Madden from the video game, "The team that stays mistake-free usually wins the game."
KEEP THAT QB PRESSURE GOING!
Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell is the only one that has not thrown an interception. If the Browns want to win, they need to make him make mistakes. Now who is the answer to that? Shaun Rogers. He was the guy in Eli Manning's face when he threw the interception that was taken back. Rogers is a 300 lb plus man that is a quarterbacks worst enemy. If he gets his hands on Campbell or runningback Clinton Portis, then that could be their last play for the game. A quarterback that makes errors is the best friend to a defense like this.
SHUT DOWN THE RUN!
That is a must. Clinton Portis is averaging over a hundred yards and a TD per game. To break the back of the Redskins, they have to shut down the team's MVP. With him shut down, the Browns can focus on making Campbell produce errors. If Portis is not stopped, then the chance of winning is cut to the bone.
KEEP THE OFFENSE GOING!
The Brown's offense finally gelled against the Giants. Wide receiver Donte Stallworth was finally able to play, and Braylon Edwards started showing his Pro Bowl self again. This offense needs to chew up the clock just like they did against New York. Before the Giants game, the Browns averaged 123.8 passing yards per game. Against the Giants they had 310 yards without Pro Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow. That is the key. They need this offense to keep up the competition and give the defense time to rest. This is the most important thing they have to do. If the defense gets in trouble, then the offense can just outscore the Redskins. If the offense does not show up then they will be 2-4.
GOOD LUCK CLEVELAND BROWNS!