- Second year wide receiver Carlton Mitchell can run, but catching the ball is the problem. Surgery performed on one of Mitchell's fingers keeps the hungry wide out on the outside looking in, but he's getting closer to a return.
Despite the finger issue, Mitchell can still tweet like a madman. Although he isn't to the level of a Chad OchoCinco, his tweeting definitely has become a therapeutic action.
- If you liked head coach Pat Shurmur's unequalled confidence in wide receiver Brian Robiskie, you'll love this one. With Mitchell not quite ready for prime-time and Mohamed Massaquoi slowed with a slight hamstring strain, the former Ohio State wide out appears headed to yet another start.
I can hear ultimate team-guy, over-reactor, ESPN analyst and former New England Patriots linebacker Tedi Bruschi giving Shurmur an atta-boy for sticking with his wide receiver who provides little production, and is even less of a threat.
- Expect more quick routes Sunday, which means Josh Cribbs and Greg Little may have an increased role. That is, unless the offensive line collapses before quarterback Colt McCoy can get the ball out of his hands.
Will Browns fans wonder how much different the Browns offense in 2011 is when compared to Eric Man.....err, Brian Daboll's offense a season ago?
Maybe, just maybe, McCoy shouldn't be overlooked as also being a culprit in the Browns offensive meltdown last Sunday. Granted, the offensive line struggled, but McCoy must get the ball out of hands, which is something he struggled with against the Bengals.
- Shurmur was satisfied with the offensive line play Sunday. Can you believe that? Well don't, Shurmur is saying the right things in the eyes of some, but there was as much disappointment as there was optimism. Bottom line, the right-side overall was disappointing and rookie left guard Jason Pinkston actually fared better than expected.
Fast-forward a few days and imagine Colts defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis flying off the edge. And to think the Browns made the Cincinnati front-seven look like All-Pro performers a week ago.
The tight ends in the Browns offense play a vital role, especially in the passing game where Ben Watson and Evan Moore are arguably the Browns best receiver options at the present time. With that said, it's likely a tight end or running back will have to chip the Colts defense ends at the point of attack to help the right tackle (Oniel Cousins and/or Artis Hicks).
And again, McCoy must get the ball out of his hands in a quicker manner.
- Running back Montario Hardesty has been a pleasant surprise over the past two weeks. Hardesty has been running hard and cutting well in practice sessions and is earning meaningful snaps on game day. The two-back sets with Hardesty and Peyton Hillis in the backfield could be utilized more than expected Sunday in Indianapolis.
The Colts are likely to be without two starting linebackers. Still, the Browns are concerned for the Colts' pass rush. That means the Browns are likely to run the ball to open up the passing game opportunities and relieve pressure off McCoy and the Browns suspect right guard and right tackle concerns.
- Rookie defensive end Jabaal Sheard will remain the starter, but he appears to be on the verge of losing reps to Marcus Benard. Sheard struggled early with his containment responsibilities and was a non-factor in passing situations last Sunday.
Benard, who is believed to be the best pass rusher among the Browns the defensive linemen, could help the Browns gain a pass rushing presence without selling out to various blitz packages.
In the season opener against the Houston Texans, the Colts offense struggled mightily in a scaled back version of their high-powered offense. While Wayne, tight end Dallas Clark and running back Joseph Addai remain threats in the offense, Collins had trouble getting the offense in gear.
The Browns defense expects to face a healthy diet of Addai, either rushing off tackle or slipping out of the backfield to match up with Browns linebackers in the passing game. The latter will test the Browns' linebackers lack of quickness.
Since the Manning-era began, the Colts have been an offense that aggressively attacked the seams of the defense and especially the zones. While their offense remains the same in theory, the execution has struggled mightily throughout the preseason and season opener.
Clark, who specializes in finding space in the intermediate zones and down the seam, could pose some interesting and potentially troubling match-ups for the Browns.
The Colts offense will target the Browns linebackers in coverage. If successful, the Browns will have to move a safety up. Once that happens, the Colts will look to extend the field with Wayne and company.
Although Colts may be Manning-less, but this game is far from meaningless. With the offensive talent Indianapolis possesses, they remain a threat with a quarterback that can still sling the rock, as Kerry Collins can.