Week Four Report: Five Questions for the Cleveland Browns
1. Should Terrelle Pryor continue to see an increased diverse role in this offense?
Hearkening back to his old college days as a quarterback last week, Pryor showed he is an incredibly versatile player, garnering passing, rushing and receiving yards, along with a rushing touchdown. His diversity kept the Dolphins defense guessing all day, and was one of a few offense bright spots for the Browns. That being said, it would be prudent to keep taking advantage of this pure athlete wherever and whenever they can.
The only two concerns I’d have about moving him around so much are the increased risk of him joining the All-Injury Cleveland Browns team, and the potential loss the receiving corps would suffer. With Gordon now seemingly gone for good, and Coleman out for another 3-5 weeks, Pryor is the number one target when he is at receiver, and when he is elsewhere, that forces Andrew Hawkins to become the team’s top receiver. At least until Coleman comes back or some of the other rookie receivers begin to develop more, I would keep the focus for Pryor at receiver, sprinkling him in elsewhere when it proves most useful.
2. How much longer can Isaiah Crowell keep up his hot pace?
Crowell is currently tied for second in rushing yardage this season with Ezekiel Elliot at 247 yards on the year. His highlight of the season thus far being when busted out for an 85-yard touchdown run in the Browns’ week two loss against the Ravens. He’s averaging 82 yards a game, and 6.1 yards per carry. This sets him on pace for a career high in yardage, and is already a quarter of the way to tying his career best in touchdowns in a season. He’s done all this while running behind arguably one of the worst offensive lines in the league.
Looking at this weeks’ matchup with the Redskins, it is likely that Crow has another impressive game as the Redskins rank 23rd in run defense. Beyond this week, in their last 12 games, the team has 9 games against defenses that currently rank in the top-15 in stopping the run. Cleveland will likely keep feeding the Crow, as well they should, but his production could suffer a steep drop after this week.
3. What in the world should be done about Austin Pasztor?
Last week was just horrible for Pasztor. Four holding penalties, constantly getting beat off the edge, and just overall not looking comfortable. Unfortunately though, there really did not seem like there was any other option, and with him having starting experience, it still made the most sense to keep him where he was. That was until Alvin Bailey ran into some legal trouble last week involving OVI and drug possession.
Bailey was to take over as the team’s starting right guard in Cam Erving absence at center, forcing normal right guard John Greco to take over at center. Jackson has said that Bailey’s status is currently up in the air for this week, and that could give Pasztor an opportunity to prove himself at a different, perhaps more welcoming position. He does appear to be build more like a guard, and by not having to go up against quick, agile EDGE rushers as often, he could prove more valuable and productive. The only issue there comes with then having to start a rookie, likely Spencer Drango or Shon Coleman, and throw one of them to those big, bad J.J. Watt type athletes. Only time will tell what happens on the right side of that line now.
4. Hue Jackson emphasized his trust in Cody Parkey despite his rough outing last week. Is that trust warranted?
Hue Jackson’s buzzword this season thus far has been “trust.” He’s used it when talking about the signing of Robert Griffin III, the drafting of Cody Kessler and now, the continuation of kicker Cody Parkey.
Parkey, after not being able to practice with the team before their game last Sunday, missed three field goals, including one as time expired that would have won them the game. He owned up to his mistakes, and reportedly had a very good week of practice. Jackson reiterated that he continues to believe and trust in Parkey, and urges the fan base to do the same.
This is a kicker that, despite his rough opening game with the Browns, was a Pro Bowler in the past with the Philadelphia Eagles. Now that he has had time to get acclimated with the team and staff, it is reasonable to give him a clean slate heading into this week. After Sunday however, should his struggles continue, the cries for Robbie Gould will grow ever stronger.
5. Will the Browns finally get their first win this week?
In what is another very winnable game for the Browns, I see this being a game that comes down to only one or two plays. Whether that is a good thing for the Browns or not, I don’t know. Crowell will need to have a good performance and set the tone of the game on the ground. Cody Kessler looked better than many thought he would last week; that must continue as well.
Even though the Redskins come into this game at only 1-2 and have been relatively unimpressive in those first three games, this is not a team Cleveland can afford to take lightly. In what I anticipate to be a close and tightly-contested game, the Browns will unfortunately remain winless, and drop to 0-4 on the season.
Prediction – Washington Redskins: 20, Cleveland Browns: 14