Five to Watch: Colts at Browns

ColtPower.com's Greg Talmage points out five factors to keep an eye on during Sunday's game between the Browns and the Colts. How will the Colts' rookie center, Jamey Richard, fare? Will Kelvin Hayden be able to handle Braylon Edwards, and will Reggie Wayne be able to shake the Cleveland defenders? Find out what to watch for inside!

1. The Radar: The weather radar for Cleveland on Sunday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. is showing a mix of rain and snow with temperatures in the mid to low 30s. Predictor has this at about an 80 percent precipitation probability. If this pans out we should have a real sloppy track Sunday afternoon.

Weather can be the great equalizer in football. Most seem to think snow and rain is bad for a team like Indianapolis that relies so much on speed. The Colts, though, have proven themselves in foul weather conditions before. See the driving rain in Super Bowl XLI or the snowstorm in Denver a few years back for examples.

Those teams, however, did something the 2008 Colts have yet to consistently show — a solid running game. If it's snow and rain on Sunday, Indianapolis will need to run and run well to win.


Kelvin Hayden will have his hands full with Braylon Edwards
Bob Levey/Getty Images

2. Kelvin Hayden: Even though Braylon Edwards' dropped passes continue to be a major problem, Edwards still knows how to get deep and can beat even the league's most elite corners.

Colts CB Kelvin Hayden was a little rusty in his return last week as Chargers receivers had success getting behind both Hayden and his teammates in the secondary.

That will need to be cleaned up this week. Though Edwards has only average deep speed, he is still a very good deep threat who uses his excellent size, leaping ability, body and exceptional ball skills very well downfield.

Hayden's ability to stick close to Edwards and the help of a properly placed safety should give Browns QB Derek Anderson reservations about throwing deep. But if either one of them are out of position, you better believe Anderson will heave a few down-the-field balls in Braylon's direction.

3. Jamey Richard: When C Jeff Saturday went down last week in San Diego, his replacement, Jamey Richard, had his hands full with nose tackle Jamal Williams. This week it does not get any easier as Browns NT Shaun Rogers will be lining up across from the rookie.

Colts Coach Tony Dungy talked about this very thing this week: "The guy last week was really a handful, and he has the same type of player this week, a big, strong guy who tees off and then gets off the ball," Dungy said. "We're going to have to do some things to slow (Cleveland DT) Shaun Rogers down and help Jamey out, but he held his own against (San Diego DT-Jamal) Williams really well."

4. No Huddle Offense: As Coach Dungy mentioned, "We're going to have to do some things to slow (Cleveland DT) Shaun Rogers down and help Jamey out." That very thing could be the no huddle offense.

It may sound weird but Peyton Manning's use of the hurry-up, no-huddle attack will bother Rogers' biggest weakness — his stamina — and should get the big man huffing and puffing.

Compounding the problem is that Rogers is nursing a sore neck. Manning and his offensive teammates run the no-huddle exceptionally well and will not hesitate to further wear out a defense with stamina issues by making it very difficult for the Browns defense to substitute and get fresh personnel into the game.

5. Reggie Wayne: Browns CB Brandon McDonald has really struggled over the past month in a half and he will be as a distinct disadvantage against Wayne. The 5-foot-9 and one half inch McDonald should have his hands full against the bigger and stronger Wayne.

Given his size advantage and the fact that Reggie knows how to use his frame to get positioning against the corner and shield the defender from the ball. Look for the Colts to execute some quick outs, quick slants and curl routes to Wayne.

McDonald's troubles against bigger speed receivers when isolated in coverage are exactly what Indianapolis hopes to take advantage of this weekend.


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