A closer look at the Oakland Raiders matchup against the Cleveland Browns

A closer look at the Oakland Raiders matchup against the Cleveland Browns with help from Jared Mueller of the Orange & Brown Report.

Chris McClain: Johnny Manziel seemed to play well last week despite completing just eight passes, but did lead the team to a win. Are you surprised by Pettine's decision to start Josh McCown over Manziel? Why?

Jared Mueller: It is not that surprising that Mike Pettine went in this direction. He has made it clear that McCown is the team's starter and provides the best chance for the team to win. Manziel has had a couple of big plays but struggles to sustain drives. In McCown's only drive of the season he marched the team on a 17 play, 90 yard drive against the tough New York Jets defense. The Browns want to win with a great defense and run game, and a QB not making mistakes. Manziel only dropped back to pass 15 times last week, completing just over half of his passes but fumbled on 2 of those dropbacks. (Only luck kept the team from losing those fumbles.)

CM: Cleveland took a big blow with what has happened with wide receiver Josh Gordon. Who is their biggest playmaker on offense now? How does offensive coordinator John DeFilippo use them to get the offense going?

JM: Travis Benjamin has emerged as the team's biggest playmaker with Johnny Manziel. The team expects McCown to get the ball out of his hands quicker which could limit Benjamin's down the field targets. The Browns truly spread the ball around to a number of good route runners with good hands. The wide receivers rotate for Cleveland more like how defensive linemen do on others.

CM: Speaking of Coach Flip, Raider Nation knows him well from his time in Oakland as the quarterbacks coach. What have you seen from his offensive play calling? Has he shown creativity in the offense?

JM: In McCown's only drive of the season receivers were running open all over the place. With Manziel on the field he has been limited in what he can call. Defenses have been coming with extra defenders to either attack the run or get Manziel off his spots. Flip's schemes have gotten receivers open but so far the run game has seemed to be more stuck in the mud. How much is do to the defenses blitzing and how much is scheme could be answered this week.

CM: The Browns defense largely carried the team on their win last week. How must the Raiders attack the defense if they hope to be successful?

JM: There are two big ways for the Raiders to try to attack the Browns. The first is running out of passing formations and passing out of running formations. This worked for the Titans last week in the 2nd half. The other is using misdirection to take advantage of overaggressive players. The Browns struggle to hold contain on outside runs, and is even worse on counters, and could be attacked by running back and middle screen plays.

CM: There was a lot of hype surrounding rookie running back Duke Johnson, Jr. heading into the season but he has not done too much in just two weeks. Is this a case of them working him in slowly, or do you see it being a committee as the season continues?

JM: It will likely be a committee but Johnson has shown signs of what has the coaches and fans excited. His timing is just a bit off, very important in Zone Blocking Scheme, after missing time due to injury during camp. On a number of runs he seems a split second off from breaking a big one. Isaiah Crowell will continue to carry much of the load as the team trusts him more in pass protection and with a bigger variety of plays. The Browns claimed Robert Turbin from the Seahawks. Once he returns from injury it will be very interesting how the carries are split up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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