Friday, September 23, 2016

Browns Preview 9.23.16: Cleveland Browns @ Miami Dolphins

By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

The (0-2) Cleveland Browns travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins who are also (0-2). Last week the Browns lost to the Ravens 25-20. while the Dolphins lost to the Patriots 31-24. This week also marks the 26th different starting quarterback the Browns will have since 1999. Cody Kessler will start with Charlie Whitehurst as the number two.

Browns Offense vs Dolphins Defense

Now its hard to use that stats from last week since the Browns will be heading into week three on their third quarterback, and also will be with
out rookie first round pick Corey Coleman (who broke his hand this week in practice). The game plan for the Browns with Kessler under center should be get the ball out of his hands quickly so expect short to intermediate throws. Now yes the Browns will have to keep the Dolphins honest so I'm sure there will be a few deep balls down the field. But overall expect guys like Gary Barnidge and Duke Johnson to get a lot of check down catches just to keep the offense moving forward.

The Dolphins have injured two starting quarterbacks in as many weeks. Week one was Russell Wilson and week two was Jimmy Garoppolo. So its extremely important for the Browns to come out of this week with Kessler's health intact. Running the ball will be difficult against the Fins front seven, with guys like Cameron Wake, Ndamukong Suh, and Koa Misi. The Dolphins will want to force Cody Kessler to beat them and force him to throw the ball down field which really isn't his forte. For the Browns to be successful they can't give up on running the ball no matter how much they are trailing by.

This will be an interesting week for the rookie wide receivers Rashard Higgins, Jordan Payton, and Ricardo Lewis. All three will get ample playing time these next two weeks with Corey Coleman out and Josh Gordon still being suspended until week five. This week is the personification of this entire 2016 season. The ultimate tryout year.

Browns Defense vs Dolphins Offense

The Browns defense is going to have to force Miami to run the ball. Last week the Dolphins lost Arian Foster for a few weeks due to a groin injury. With Foster out, the 'Phins leading rusher is quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

The Browns need to get to Tannehill too. If he has time in the pocket he will be able to find guys like Jarvis Landry, Jordan Cameron, and DeVante Parker. The Game plan on defense should be similar to the one last week against the Ravens. Prevent the deep ball, force the running game to beat you, and force Tannehill into some errant throws.

 Last week the Dolphins had 459 total yards while only having the ball for 23:14. Which means a lot of the their yards and points came in the fourth quarter where they scored 14 points. Yes stats can be misleading. This week the Browns defense needs to step up since Kessler is starting. If the Browns defense can give the offense a short field a few time then maybe the Browns can pull out a win in Miami.

Five Guys to Watch

Cody Kessler: Well this one is pretty obvious. Its kinda weird to thing Cody Kessler will start an NFL game before first overall pick Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch. The Browns didn't expect or want him to start this early in his career but it will be interesting to see how well he conducts himself. If he can have a game with 250+ yards and one interception, I think the Browns and their fans will be just fine with his effort. Hell at this point if he just makes it to next week I think the Browns and fans will be happy.

Rashard Higgins: "Hollywood" Higgins was a fifth round pick out of Colorado State. Scouts said he was one of the best route runners coming into the draft. If he can come out and have 4+ catch game it will be a plus. Higgins has the opportunity to show why he should have been one of the top receivers picked in the 2016 draft...and with a nickname like "Hollywood" you got to prove it on the big stage.

Joe Haden: Joe shut up some of the haters last week with his two interceptions. Now he has to go up against Jarvis Landry who is one of the top up and coming receivers in the league. If Joe can shut down Landry the Browns will have an opportunity to pull out a win in Miami.

Duke Johnson: Lets hope Johnson gets a few more touches this week. He could be very important going forward with Kessler starting. Johnson, who was second last year in catches by rookies, really excels at catching the ball out of the backfield. When he is on the field it gives Kessler another playmaker besides Terrelle Pryor and Gary Barnidge.

Danny Shelton: Shelton has played pretty well the first two weeks. If he can continue to grow like he has it can really help the Browns rush defense. This week its important for the Browns to force Miami into running so Shelton is an easy pick for one of the five guys to watch.

Injury Report:

Weather Report:

Betting Line: Miami -9.5

Prediction: Miami 31 Browns 10

The Browns will fall to (0-3) this week. I think Kessler will play well but not enough for the win. The offense will be stagnate at times this week but its to be expected with a rookie quarterback. The defense overall will be good but by the of the game they will be gassed and give up a few big plays. Its going to be a frustrated week for the team and fans. But as long as Kessler and this team stays healthy its a positive in my book.

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