New York Jets: Top 3 ways to beat the Cleveland Browns
By Ryan Patti
Dec 22, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) is tackled by Cleveland Browns free safety Tashaun Gipson (39) during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
It’s about time, Week 1 is finally here for the New York Jets. On Sunday, the show begins for the Jets as they take on the Cleveland Browns in the season opener at the Meadowlands. This is the 6th consecutive year the Jets have began the season at home and they’ll look to start 1-0 for the fifth time in a row.
Gang Green is coming off of a solid conclusion to the preseason and with the talented roster finalized, they look like the clear favorites in Sunday’s matchup. Let’s take a look at what the team needs to do in order to avoid the upset.
Here are the top 3 ways the Jets can beat the Browns on Sunday!
Next: 3. Stop Duke Johnson
Jul 30, 2015; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr., (29) runs in motion during a play during training camp at the Cleveland Browns practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
3. Stop Duke Johnson
As of Wednesday, Johnson was cleared to resume football activities after suffering a concussion against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 of the preseason. In the game, he had one carry for 4 yards and one catch for 1 yard before getting hurt. The Browns have yet to get a true look at him, and on Sunday, that still may remain the case.
This is because Isaiah Crowell is the current starter and currently the most productive back on the roster by far. However, if Johnson had been healthy, he might have already earned the starting job. Cleveland traded sophomore Terrance West to the Titans for a conditional 7th-round pick, so now all of a sudden the position is thin for the Browns.
This gives Johnson a chance to shine right off the bat. What makes him so intimidating is his explosiveness and speed that can gash almost any defense whether it is on the ground or through the air. The 3rd-round pick can be an absolute thorn in New York’s side if Cleveland can get him in the open field.
Gang Green is notorious for struggling to stop the quicker backs such as C.J. Spiller and Shane Vereen in the past, therefore Johnson poses the same threat. To begin the preseason, even rookie Ameer Abdullah ripped apart the Jets’ first team offense in the two drives they were both on the field. In order to win on Sunday, New York has no other choice but to make tackles and prevent #29 from getting in open space when he’s on the field.
Next: 2. Lean on Chris Ivory
Aug 21, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) runs with the ball while Atlanta Falcons linebacker Brooks Reed (56) attempts to tackle him during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
2. Lean on Chris Ivory
The Jets would simply be hard pressed to throw the ball on the Browns. Joe Haden is still the face of the franchise while safety Tashaun Gipson is quietly one of the league’s best ballhawks. Tramon Williams is a greatly appreciated new face in the defense due to the early struggles of 2014 first-round pick Justin Gilbert. Donte Whitner is also a member of Cleveland’s secondary, and we all know what happens when receivers catch passes in his path.
Ivory has been a dominant force for the Jets over the past two seasons averaging close to 4.5 yards per clip. When he carried the ball, New York believe it or not had plenty of success in the preseason running off-tackle. In both Weeks 2 and 3, Ivory followed blocks of Breno Giacomini on multiple occasions and picked up huge chunks of yards. Against the Falcons he scored a 33-yard touchdown while vs. the Giants he ripped runs of 12 and 16 yards on the team’s second drive.
Relying on Ivory will also keep the Jets in full control of the game while keeping their defense rested. The trio of Danny Shelton, Karlos Dansby and Paul Kruger will be tough to run on, but with the pleasant surprise that’s been the right side of the offensive line, New York shouldn’t have a problem giving the ball the Ivory 20+ times in this game. If offensive coordinator Chan Gailey feeds his running back a lot this Sunday, it could be the difference between a win or a loss.
Next: 1. Don't lose sight of Travis Benjamin
Aug 13, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin (11) celebrates a touchdown during the first quarter of preseason NFL football game against the Washington Redskins at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
1. Don’t lose sight of Travis Benjamin
Benjamin is arguably the most dangerous player on the Brown’s team. He can hurt you on kick returns, punt returns and of course on offense. He’s the type of player who can take the top off an entire defense. If there is no safety deep, most of the time, you’re in trouble. Due to that fact, Marcus Gilchrist must play deep in the secondary every time Benjamin is on the field. Josh McCown has shown in years past that he can hit his play-makers down the field when they get separation, so the Jets cannot afford to get caught napping.
Despite Johnny Manziel’s mobility and ability to keep plays alive, the Jets would actually be better off if he started. McCown is a veteran, is a better decision-maker and has a better arm than him. When Benjamin is on the field, he’s much more of a threat with McCown delivering him the football. If the two can connect on just a couple big plays, it can become a completely different ballgame.
Head coach Todd Bowles has many options with what he wants to do about Benjamin. He can put Darrelle Revis on him and lock him up for the whole game, or he can take his chances with rotational corners such as Dexter McDougle, Marcus Williams and Darrin Walls. Buster Skrine matches up very well against Andrew Hawkins, so he shouldn’t be an option. Regardless, Gang Green must always have a safety deep to prevent against the 80-yard bomb that Benjamin can create whenever he’s on the field.
Next: New York Jets: Can they afford Muhammad Wilkerson?