Browns-Falcons: Scrambling on Defense

Having dealt with LaDanian Tomlinson, the Browns now face off against a very different threat...

New offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson says his unit hit the reset button when he started calling plays in the game against the Jets Oct. 29. Now the defense is going to have to hit the reset button as it prepares to play Michael Vick and the Falcons in Atlanta Sunday after dealing with the high-powered Chargers offense.

Vick presents a different set of problems than San Diego did. Philip Rivers, the Chargers quarterback, is a pocket passer. He has 24 carries for 41 yards. He had three carries for minus three yards in a 32-25 victory over the Browns. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 172 yards and scored three touchdowns, all in the second half. Charlie Frye was sacked five tines.

Vick has more rushing yardage (576 yards) than the Browns' leading rusher, Reuben Droughns (418). The problem for the Browns is Vick has improved as a passer, which means they cannot discount him beating them through the air. He has thrown 11 touchdown passes and six interceptions.

Rookie linebacker Kamerion Wimbley will be on high alert when it comes to Vick. Wimbley is the Browns leader with 4.5 sacks. Early in the season he missed tackles when a runner got outside him. Vick is very capable of doing that. Wimbley has to make sure he doesn't rush in expecting to sack Vick and then suddenly watch Vick run around him going the other way.

"I have to make sure I have contain and force the play inside," Wimbley said. "On pass plays, I think our pressure has been good. We've helped our DBs get some interceptions and their coverage has given us more time to get back there."

The Falcons scored 41 points against the Steelers and 29 against the Bengals, two of the Browns rivals in the AFC North. The Falcons needed all those points, too, because the Steelers scored 38 and the Bengals 27.

The Browns' offense has not shown it can win a shootout. Charlie Frye has one of the worst fourth quarter passer ratings in the league, primarily because the Browns are usually playing from behind. That can be traced to slow starts.

Unbelievably, the Browns have not scored a single touchdown in the first quarter this season. Opponents have outscored the Browns 20-12. They have outscored opponents 47-40 in the second quarter, but playing catch-up football behind an offensive line that has given up 29 sacks makes things difficult for a quarterback with only 13 NFL starts.

Under Davidson, the Browns are trying to get off to a faster start and be more efficient overall.

"The strength of this offense is trying to simplify the plays and multiply the looks," Davidson said.

Davidson said the plan will differ from week to week -- something that seems obvious but was not always the case before.


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