The New York Football Giants (7-3) look to bolster their playoff credentials with a Sunday match-up with the winless Cleveland Browns (0-11). The Browns and their fans are suffering through another long season of poor play. GMENHQ wonders if there is any way for Big Blue to lose this one?
In the past three games, the Browns have lost by an average of 20 points, and offensively, they average only 16.7 points per game. GMENHQ caught up with Steven Kubitza of FanSided’s sister site, Dawg Pound Daily to discuss the upcoming Giants – Brown game at Cleveland.
GMENHQ: From our vantage point, the Browns passing on Carson Wentz and Leonard Floyd look like poor organizational decisions. Were there things in place from the Browns’ front office that made sense during the spring? Or were these more of Cleveland’s bad personnel decisions?
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Steven Kubitza: Passing on Leonard Floyd isn’t something Browns fans are too hung up on. But Carson Wentz is a name that comes up often. Fans may be underwhelmed by first-round pick Corey Coleman, although he has missed some time due to a broken hand.
While the frustrations surrounding Coleman may lead to fans wishing the team took Wentz, it is clear that no quarterback could have succeeded on the team this year. The biggest blunder in 2016 was not anything that happened in the draft. It involved the belief that the young, makeshift offensive line would put up any sort of protection for the carousel of quarterbacks. So the plan regarding the draft was sound, but allowing Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz to walk was a disastrous personnel move.
Oct 4, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Leonard Floyd (84) reacts with linebacker Amarlo Herrera (52) after a sack against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Vanderbilt 44-17. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
GMENHQ: Given the fact that the Browns cannot simply rely on talent to beat teams, what will the strategy be to beat the New York Giants on Sunday?
SK: I really don’t know. One may say trick plays, but this is the Browns so that isn’t a good idea, as something will go wrong. The only way this team will win is if the defense picks off Eli Manning at least three times, returning one for a touchdown. The strategy on defense must involve bringing a lot of pressure, and never dropping back into a conservative scheme.
Aug 23, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills middle linebacker Brandon Spikes (51) hits Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown (12) as he tries to pass the ball during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
For the offense, Josh McCown needs to protect the ball, which he likely won’t. He frequently throws the ball deep downfield when no one is open, resulting in easy interceptions. Then there is his inability to slide and protect himself, which results in easy fumbles for the defense. So basically the Browns need to have zero turnovers, and force at least three or four from the Giants offense.
GMENHQ: The Browns have many young players on the roster, name one on offense and one on defense that we should be aware of on Sunday.
SK: One on offense is Corey Coleman. The rookie receiver has been shut down as of late after returning from a broken hand, but he should do better with McCown at quarterback. The two connected for two touchdowns in the first quarter of Week 2 against the Ravens, showing that there is some semblance of chemistry between the two.
On defense, it is rookie defensive end Carl Nassib. His production has slowed as of late, but he still has the potential to disrupt the quarterback on every play and swat down passes.
Nov 16, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson against the Houston Texans at Paul Brown Stadium. The Texans won 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
GMENHQ:Are any of the quarterbacks on the Browns’ roster worth keeping for next season? Will Robert Griffin III play for Cleveland again?
SK:The only one worth keeping is Cody Kessler. He has not won a game in eight starts, but he has dealt with several injuries and opened the season expecting to be the third string quarterback. If Hue Jackson was so high on him coming out of the draft, the rookie deserves a chance to prove himself.
Griffin may be on the roster next year, but it would be hard to see him opening as the starter again. The only way he would be is if he comes back in December and leads the team to a few wins, which is unlikely.
Dec 14, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) fumbles the ball as he
GMENHQ: What’s it like being a Cleveland Browns fan? Is the fan base disenchanted? Or do they believe in Jimmy Haslam, Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta?
SK: I am in the post-1999 generation of Browns fans, so this type of team is all I know. It is certainly disenchanting, but there is always some sense of optimism heading into each season. It may be naive, but it’s sports so anything could happen.
This year is unlike anything I’ve seen though. It is almost a chore to sit down for three hours and watch the games on Sundays. The last three contests have been miserable to watch, and fans are simply rooting for a single win. Sports are supposed to be fun, and this season is the opposite of that.
Some fans believe in the process being undertaken by ownership and the front office, but others are skeptical because of the countless failed regimes of the past. Fans are promised a change of direction every few years, but no group has been able to fix the problems of the past, quickly being fired. And the process repeats.
Sep 21, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns helmet on the field before a game against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
GMENHQ: Give us a prediction for Sunday.
SK: Well, the Giants are going to win the game. The Browns will make it a game in the first half, but the Giants will out-adjust the Browns in the second half and pull away easily. Final score: Giants 31, Browns 17.
Oct 7, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw (44) carries as Cleveland Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya (25) closes in during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Giants won 41-27. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE