Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens guard Marshal Yanda (73) blocks Cleveland Browns linebacker Jabaal Sheard (97) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
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Ravens Vs. Browns: Steven Kubitza Provides Answers On The Browns
The Baltimore Ravens are about to do battle with the Cleveland Browns. This is more often than not an automatic win for the John Harbuagh and the Ravens. Since Harbaugh became the coach of the Ravens, and Joe Flacco has been under center, the Browns have only beaten the Ravens twice. When Sunday rolls along, the Browns will be searching for their first win of the season. The Ravens will be looking to build off their week one victory.
The Ravens do have a history of week 2 disappointments. In 2010, the Ravens lost to the Bengals after beating the Jets in week 1. After beating the pulp out of the Steelers to start the 2011 season, the Ravens lost to the Tennessee Titans a week later. The Eagles took down the Ravens in 2012 after the Ravens opened the season by slashing the Bengals to the tune of a 44-13 score. Hopefully the Ravens can avoid the week two slump this season. Before beating the Bills, the Ravens hadn’t won a season opener since their Super Bowl season.
Now is time to get ready for the week 2 match up. The great thing about the FanSided Network is that there are passionate experts everywhere you look. Today we turn our attention to the expert at Dawg Pound Daily, the Browns blog for FanSided. Steven Kubitza has graciously given us some answers to our questions about the Browns. My questions will be in bold. Steven’s answers will follow.
Jan 3, 2016, Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin (11) waves to fans prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
1. The Browns looked bad in their 29-10 loss to the Eagles. What was the biggest problem?
Everything was the problem, but it started with the offense. Robert Griffin III could not keep the offense on the field, leading to the Eagles having the ball early and often against a young and inexperienced Browns defense. The group is expected to be one of the worst in the NFL, so nearly 40 minutes of time on the field was a recipe for disaster.
The offense was also the victim of some predictable play-calling. An incompletion on first down led to an obvious run play on second down, followed by a third-and-long. The lack of talent doesn’t make it any easier for head coach Hue Jackson, but if this happens again it is going to be a season filled with more punts than points.
2. What is the one strength that this team can lean on against the Ravens?
The youth of this team should allow the Browns to bounce back and move on from the opening loss. These players are excited to be in the NFL and will not be beaten down by the years of ineptness seen by players like Joe Haden and Joe Thomas who have been on the team for so long.
Rookies like Carl Nassib and Emmanuel Ogbah will provide some pressure on the defensive front, while wide receiver Corey Coleman should be able to learn from his debut and be more prepared for this game in front of the home fans. This is also my optimistic view of a hopeless situation, so take it for what it’s worth.
Sep 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) passes in front of the rush attempt of Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham (53) during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles won 29-10. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
3. Is Josh McCown possibly an upgrade from Robert Griffin III? Can he repeat his stellar performance last year against the Ravens?
He is a clear upgrade from Griffin. Hue Jackson wanted to turn RG3 into a pocket passer, but it was clear on Sunday that Griffin is not the same player when he cannot be free to run the ball whenever he pleases.
McCown is not a great quarterback, but he is a veteran who can help stabilize this offense. If Josh Gordon was active, I would say he could put up another amazing performance like he did last year, but it is not going to happen with the current receiving corps featuring four rookies and an inexperienced player like Terrelle Pryor.
4. We get that this rivalry is personal to you guys. We feel the same pain with Indianapolis. But does this qualify as a rivalry? The Ravens have only lost two games against the Browns in the Harbaugh/Flacco era.
It is hard to say the Browns have any rivals given how bad the team has been since returning in 1999. This is more of a thing with the fans who still feel some anger toward Baltimore, even though the move had nothing to do with its fans.
The fact Ray Lewis is gone should help tone down this feeling, as there is not a player for Browns fans to pile hate upon when playing the Ravens.
Nov 30, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens fullback Kyle Juszczyk (44) and Cleveland Browns inside linebacker Craig Robertson (53) at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
5. Is their hope that the Browns can turn it around?
No. At least not in 2016. It is getting increasingly hard to be optimistic about this franchise after seeing them lay another egg in a season opener. They have now lost 12 straight season-opening games. Isn’t that ridiculous? The message this year is that the team is in a rebuilding phase, but that still means fans have to suffer through some terrible football before the team is great again. And that terrible play on the field may even be enough to lose some fans along the way.
Just kidding. The Ravens shut down the Bills in Week 1 while the Browns only mustered 10 points against an average Philadelphia defense. The Ravens are going to win this game easily. Ravens 27-Browns 17