FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Last week against the Baltimore Ravens, the Jets allowed only six rushing yards on defense, a franchise record. This Sunday, Gang Green will travel to Cleveland and face another AFC North opponent the Cleveland Browns, who despite being (0-7) have a rushing attack that ranks eighth in the NFL.
"I think they’re second in the league in average per running the ball," said head coach Todd Bowles. "They’ve been in every game. They’ve lost some in the fourth quarter at the end, so we expect a tough game."
The Browns are averaging 120.6 yards per game which is leaps and bounds better than the Ravens who rank near the bottom of the league in rushing. The player who sets the tone for the run game is one Isaiah Crowell, who is averaging 5.2 yards per carry this season. Backup Duke Johnson can also make plays with his 4.7 yards per carry average.
"He is a down hill runner...he's always falling forward," Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said of Crowell.
On 95 carries, Crowell has 495 yards rushing and four touchdowns this year, including an 85 yard touchdown run in Week Two versus the Ravens where he sprinted up the middle untouched.
"I keep seeing that play over in my head," Rodgers said. "He's a dangerous runner."
Crowell also led the Browns in rushing last season with 706 yards. Before the season, Crowell made it known that he wants to go for 1,000 yards rushing this year. Not only is that still attainable, he has the support and trust from second-year head coach Hue Jackson, who will get him all the necessary touches to make it happen.
"I’ve known him for quite a few years," said Bowles. "Great guy. Outstanding offensive mind. Hard-nosed. Good football coach."
Jackson has a run first mentality and it shows in the team's production. With big guys on the offensive line, such as the nine-time Pro Bowl tackle, Joe Thomas and right guard John Greco, the Browns will be determined to establish a physical presence at the line of scrimmage. The Jets can also look for wide out Terrelle Pryor Sr. to be a red zone threat due to his worldly skill set and speed.
As much as the Jets would like to sleep walk through Sunday and dominate the Browns, a strong effort from the run defense will be needed once again to win their second straight game. In this league, you can be beaten by any team, no matter how bad their record is.
"We see them as a good football team..they can run on anybody, they're big up front," Bowles said.
Marcus Reynolds is a staff writer for JetsInisder.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Marcus_JRNL), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).