Browns-Jaguars: Game Scout

The facts you need before Sunday's matchup in Florida.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

GAMEDATE: 11/21/10

SURFACE: Natural Grass

TV: CBS, Bill Macatee, Rich Gannon

GAME THREAD: Click for OBR Football


PREDICTION: Browns 20-17

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Jaguars aren't an explosive offensive team and their defense hasn't shown a killer instinct to put teams away. That plays into the plan of the Browns -- stick around long enough to win games late. Rookie QB Colt McCoy has a 99.8 passer rating in the fourth quarter but won't take many risks, even against a lackluster pass rush, because of his limited supporting cast. The Browns need takeaways -- Jacksonville is minus-6 in that category -- but Jaguars QB David Garrard has been nearly flawless with a 153.4 rating and no turnovers in the past two games. There could be more room to run for Maurice Jones-Drew, who has back-to-back 100-yard games, with ILB Scott Fujita out.

FAST FACTS: Browns RB Peyton Hillis is fourth in the AFC with 109.1 yards from scrimmage per game. ... The home team is 1-5 in the past six meetings in this series.

SERIES HISTORY: 13th regular-season meeting. Jaguars lead series, 8-4. The series was decidedly in Jacksonville's favor in the early years, but since then, it has tilted toward the Browns. The Browns have won three of the last four games, including their last three visits to Jacksonville.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Browns LB Matt Roth vs. Jaguars QB David Garrard. The Browns defense got to Mark Sanchez last week but found him surprisingly elusive. Garrard is another strong quarterback capable of extending plays with his legs. The Browns have to make sure when they get their hands on Garrard they do not let him escape.

Browns LB David Bowens vs. Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis. With Scott Fujita out because of a knee injury, Bowens will be locked onto Lewis at times. That is a difficult matchup for the 12th-year veteran. Lewis has seven touchdown catches.

INJURY IMPACT: The Browns will miss Josh Cribbs on offense and as a returner due to an injury to his right foot. The Wildcat offense does not work when he is out of the lineup. David Bowens will replace Scott Fujita (knee) at outside linebacker. Mike Adams will miss the game, putting additional pressure on the Browns secondary and special teams coverage, where he and Cribbs have served as gunners in recent years.



Cornerback Eric Wright is out to turn his season around while it is still salvageable, starting Sunday when the Browns play the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

"Obviously, I haven't had the year I thought I'd have," Wright said. "I have a responsibility to this team to be a certain type of player. I've let my team down time and time again.

"Obviously, I have to play better. Until one of these guys look me in the face and say, "I don't believe in you anymore," I'm good. That hasn't happened yet. I'm going to keep pushing and keep working."

Wright was torched three times by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in Baltimore in a 24-17 loss in the third game of the season. He gave up two touchdowns in Pittsburgh and had coverage on Santonio Holmes last week when Holmes beat him for the winning touchdown in an overtime loss to the Jets.

Wright said he gave up two touchdowns all of 2009 while playing man to man coverage most of the time without much help from the safeties, who were able to leave Wright on an island because he covered receivers well on his own.

Last year, quarterbacks picked on Brandon McDonald so much McDonald was benched three times and then cut at the end of the 2010 training camp. Now opponents are going after Wright more than they go after right cornerback Sheldon Brown.

Coach Eric Mangini does not have many options, especially now with Brown nursing a neck injury. He could start Haden at left corner against the Jaguars, but he is more comfortable using Haden in nickel situations. Haden is the left cornerback and Wright plays over the slot receiver in the sub defenses.

"When you play that position and make mistakes, they're a lot more visible than any other position," Mangini said. "He had an outstanding year last year. There have been times this year I've seen that level of play and that's what I expect."

That also means there have been times when Wright has not played as well as Mangini expects. Those mistakes are magnified when a team plays close games as the Browns do. Their losses this season have been by 3, 2, 7, 10, 18 and 6 points.

Wright said he has had more good games than bad this season, but the bad ones stand out. Surprisingly he said teams are not targeting him.

"I don't feel like there's necessarily a streak," he said. "We had the Baltimore game which obviously opened up the floodgates for us having this type discussion. It was the worst game I've played in my career. It was more so me not doing what I was supposed to do mentally than physically.

"I feel like throughout the nine games I've had more (good) games than bad games, but when you have certain big plays playing cornerback it's going to be looked at a different way."

Wright is in the final year of his rookie contract.


The Jaguars' two new starting defensive ends, Jeremy Mincey and Austen Lane, will stay in the starting lineup against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, but they will be under the microscope.

Coach Jack Del Rio said, "Our defensive ends did not play very well. They're going to have to play much better going forward."

Del Rio, though, isn't going to bench them, mainly because he doesn't have many alternatives.

Lane is playing for Derrick Harvey, who's been benched, and Mincey is playing for Aaron Kampman, who is out with a torn ACL.

Del Rio said they will learn on the job the way Courtney Greene and Don Carey have done at safety.

"We're going to let those guys play and let the group play and demand that we get certain things done and coach them up and teach them and let them play," Del Rio said of Mincey and Lane.

Mincey is playing with a broken bone in his right hand.

"I didn't play a terrible game," he said. "I was pretty effective." He called his mistakes "correctable stuff."

He also has a new cast after shattering the one he played in last week as he apparently clobbered some of the Texans with it.

"I had a few clobbers. It's a pretty nice weapon," he said.

Mincey suggested he got away with a few head slaps that would have made Deacon Jones proud.

"I might have gotten away with it. I'm not going to talk about it," he said.

Lane said he has got to improve and said he might have been thinking too much.

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