When it comes to the upcoming Browns vs Jets game this upcoming Sunday, it should be a great battle of the defenses. Both defenses are eerily similar and the edge might very well come to which unit makes the least amount of mistakes. One of our fellow NFL sites here on the FanSided network, Dawg Pound Daily, recently reached out to us here at The Jet Press for a questions and answers segment. Check out their site to see our thoughts on this game from the perspective of the Jets.
Check out our exclusive questions and answers piece with their editor Thomas Moore in which he gives Jets fans some great insight on what to expect from the Browns and hot topics concerning the team. Enjoy!
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Question 1: What should fans expect to see out of quarterback Josh McCown?
Thomas: McCown is still not getting much love nationally, but he was effective in the preseason, for what that’s worth, and looked the part of a veteran quarterback.
The biggest advantage going for McCown is that he does not have to be the focus of the offense. He’s playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and in an offense that is looking to run the ball as much as possible. That is a pretty sweet gig, if everything goes right.
The one area where the offense may be lacking is they really don’t have an established “big play” threat at wide receiver — the type of player who can help the offense have a three- or four-play touchdown drive. For the Browns to score touchdowns this fall they are going to have a lot of 14-, 15- and 16-play drives, which ups the possibility of mistakes.
But as long as McCown remembers that he doesn’t have to do try and be a hero, he may be better than expected.
Question 2: With new uniforms and a new year hitting the Browns, is it enough to become contenders again?
Thomas: Contenders may be a stretch for a team that has posted double-digit losses 10 times in the past 12 seasons, but the team is getting better. The Browns are building a solid team through the draft with players like Joel Bitonio and Danny Shelton, and in free agency with Karlos Dansby, Donte Whitner and Tramon Williams, but they are still a work in progress.
The Browns should be better than last year, especially if they can avoid injuries to key players (see Alex Mack in 2014), but that still leaves a best-case scenario of 8-8 on the year. And the less we say about the redesigned uniforms, which make the Browns look like they should be members of the Mountain West Conference, the better.
Question 3: The Browns will have another top defense in 2015, what players should fans of the Jets keep an eye on when going up against our offense?
Thomas: The secondary has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL as the Browns return three Pro Bowlers – Joe Haden, Tashaun Gipson and Whitner – and have replaced Buster Skrine, the second-most penalized player in the NFL last season, with Tramon Williams.
Definitely keep an eye on rookie nose tackle Danny Shelton, as well. The Browns brought in Shelton, as well as veteran Randy Starks, in an attempt to fix the league’s worst run defense and so far Shelton has been as advertised — check out this link if you still need convincing.
Aug 29, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Paul Kruger (99) and cornerback Joe Haden (23) talk prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Question 4: Have the Browns done enough to compete in the AFC North?
Thomas: That’s a tough one. Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns are 27-69 against Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati, and have never won more than three games in a single season against those teams. The Browns were just a couple of plays away from sweeping the Steelers and splitting with the Ravens last year, however, and if they could have pulled out those wins, suddenly we’re talking about a team that finished the 2014 season at 9-7.
But the reality is that until the Browns actually finish off those games, going 2-4 in the division is never going to end.
Question 5: Will Johnny Manziel ever see starting time in 2015?
Thomas: If all goes according to plan — and we all know how likely that is — then the answer is no. And in reality that is the way it should be. Manziel did show improvement in his limited time in the preseason, but that is only based on comparisons to last season, when he was hopelessly unprepared.
People seem quick to forget just how far gone Manziel was a player and a person at the end of last season. The club has had to rebuild his game from the ground up and Manziel has had to do the same for his personal life. He’s seemingly making progress, but he still has a long journey ahead of him.
But that may not be the worst thing. Manziel will only turn 23 this December, so if he has to spend this season learning what it takes to be an NFL quarterback he still potentially has a long career ahead of him.
Question 6: Final score?
Thomas: Let’s see, the Browns are just 1-14 in season openers since returning to the NFL in 1999, and McCown will be the team’s 13th different opening day starter at quarterback in that time period. But forget that. It’s early fall, traditionally a time of optimism for Browns Nation far and wide.
Browns 17, Jets 10.