Thoughts, notes and questions as the Cleveland Browns head into today's tough road matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.
- The Falcons are on pace to set the team single-season rushing record. The Browns are, once again, one of the worst team's in defending the run. Defensive linemen Ted Washington and Nick Eason are licensed to carry a handgun. You do the math.
- Conversely, the Falcons are one of the worst teams in the NFL in pass defense. If there was ever a team for Charlie Frye to get healthy against, this team is it. Not only do the Falcons not defend the pass well, they seldom put pressure on the quarterback. After a week that saw the Akron product undergo, for the first time in his young career, a wave of criticism, this is a golden opportunity for Frye to regain his somewhat wavering support.
- Given the Falcons' potent rushing attack and the improved pocket passing of Michael Vick, this game will very likely turn into an offensive shootout. The Browns have enough bullets to keep up with Atlanta. The big question will be: do the Browns have the right rifleman to pull the trigger? This should be a game where Frye shines. And I'm thinking he will.
- I don't know why, but I have the feeling that we will see a breakout game from Kamerion Wimbley. The Falcons rely on speed and finesse for offensive success, which plays right into the athletic Wimbley's hands. His speed and athleticism can negate the advantages gained by the Falcons' zone-blocking schemes, and his strength will allow him to bullrush and shed more times than not.
- And speaking of Vick, even with his improvement in the throwing aspect of the game, you still must make him beat you with his arm instead of his feet. Keep him in the pocket, keep him contained and take your chances through the air instead of on the ground.
- Here's hoping Ryan Tucker is as successful bagging the Atlanta Falcons as he was the American deers. That's a curious situation, I must say. Not healthy enough to play in an NFL game, but healthy enough, two days later, to go hunting. But then again, Tucker has been a warrior so he gets the free pass on that, I guess.
- Daven Holly is not fully recovered from his undisclosed illness, but will be counted on to go the entire way with Leigh Bodden out yet again with a high-ankle sprain to his other ankle. Additionally, Jereme Perry, who is actually listed ahead of Ralph Brown on the depth chart (then again, so am I and the chair that I'm sitting on), suffered an ankle injury late in the practice week and will not be at full speed if he's even able to take the field.
- I've got two words for you: Kellen Winslow The Second. If Frye and Winslow can't bust the deep seam on this team, then I have no idea who they can do it against. Defenses have dictated that, for the most part, Winslow be limited to short routes and dumps for the first eight games of the season. The Falcons' defense screams like Jenna to be beaten long and deep up the middle.
- As Yoda would say: Jerome Harrison, I want to see more of. And he was all wise and stuff. Yoda, not Harrison.
(And I'm not gonna stop beating that drum until he's utilized like he was in the pre-season. Until further notice, I'm Ringo and the lack of Harrison is my drum kit. My apologies in advance for the noise.)
- If/when the Browns do get inside the twenty, would it be possible to throw a fade or eight to the 6-3 Braylon Edwards, 6-5 Joe Jurevicius or the 6-4 Winslow? Is that a possibility, or is there some type of federal regulation against that type of tact? To quote Barry Pepper as Private Daniel Boone Jackson in "Saving Private Ryan": "Well, from my way of thinking, sir, this entire mission is a serious misallocation of valuable military resources." As is the Browns game plan at times.
- If Frye struggles, particularly in light of his performance last weekend, will head coach Romeo Crennel have the guts to pull his intangible-laden QB? Granted, the choices of Derek Anderson and Ken Dorsey are not exactly enticing, but pulling him at some point if he should struggle might be a message that Frye needs to hear. He was handed the starting job with no competition. It might need to be reinforced that he's accountable for his performance.
- Buckeye update: It's less than 149 hours until THE game, and Michigan still sucks.