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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fans Need to Relax: Browns vs Bengals

With all of the excitement surrounding the Cleveland Browns and their two-game winning streak, it's time to relax, step back and learn a couple of lessons from this week.  And yeah, I'm here to play Teacher for you.  Don't get me wrong - I love almost everything I'm seeing from this team. But we need to stop the talk of QB Brian Hoyer being the second coming of Tom Brady. We need to stop the Pro-Bowl talk for TE Jordan Cameron and WR Josh Gordon.  We need to be careful how we brag about our Defense being the best run stopping group in the league.  Do I believe all of these things are true?  Maybe. But we tend to jump to conclusions in this town, take things to extremes.  Let's just enjoy the winning for now and even more importantly, enjoy watching Good Football again!  It's been a long time coming.

While Hoyer/Gordon/Cameron have had some really great weeks lately, we need to be prepared for the fact that opposing defenses now have more film to watch. DC's will be game planning for Flash Gordon and try their best to take him out of the offensive equation. It will take a really excellent CB to do that, but we have some of those on the schedule this year. Yes, Hoyer can go to Cameron if Gordon isn't open but again, defenses will watch for that.  In order for this offense to truly be effective, WR Davone Bess, TE Gary Barnidge, and WR Greg Little need to be ready to step up their games and give the defenses something NEW to worry about.  With the return of Shaun Lauvao this week the offensive line will just keep getting better.  I actually thought Cousins and Schwartz played really well together this week. Perhaps their chemistry is finally kicking in after four games together.

On the defensive side of the ball, the same problem is coming: offensive coordinators have more film and can game-plan more effectively.  Frankly, I think that the entire league has overlooked the Browns. Add to that the tumultuous events of two weeks ago (aka the TRich trade) and you can see why no one really thought we were a threat. We were overlooked and both Minnesota and Cincinnati paid the price for that. Future opponents won't make that same mistake.  Major props to Buster Skrine - he takes a lot of crap from fans but has really put together a couple good games this year. He's making serious improvement in his game by "seeing" the field more clearly and knowing where to be when the ball gets there. Oh, he's always been fast, but it seemed like it took him a beat too long to decide where the play was headed.  Not this week. Dude was balling!

As far as Run Defense, we haven't given up a rushing play over 14 yards this season. UNREAL! I've said it before and I'll say it again, we have the NASTIEST front 7 in the NFL!  Where we have a real issue in the mid-field range on pass coverage and don't be surprised to see teams go with the bubble screen or the TE passing route in future weeks to put TJ Ward to the test and see just how soft we are up the middle. At the same time, CB Joe Haden and Rookie Barkevious Mingo have been stellar and opposing QBs should be scared. Very very scared.

Of course the future looks bright for the Browns. Of course I'm loving these games and I'm proud of the progress they have made in such a short time.  I'm just trying to reel in a few of my fellow fans who are off the deep end thinking we can win the division and go to the playoffs.  Yes, that's absolutely possible.  But if they lose a few games in the near future, don't be all "doom-and-gloom, this team sucks" guy. We may experience some growing pains in a short while and we need to remember that this team DOES have talent, that they CAN perform, and that, most importantly, they have a coaching staff that KNOWS how to game-plan and motivate the players to be the best they can be.  And that's all we as fans can ask for.

You can read Kate's 5 Takes for this week on www.nflfemale.com "The DAWGS Are Back!"

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

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