To get a different perspective on the Cleveland Browns’ match-up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we talked with blogger Kyle Flip of The Pewter Plank. Keep reading for his preview and prediction for the game:
1. Where is QB Josh Freeman in his development? What can the Browns expect from the second-year quarterback?
Josh Freeman is going to have a very good sophomore season, and has some new weapons to work with, including rookie receiver Mike Williams. However, he injured his thumb in the preseason, and will be playing with the injury Sunday. The Browns should try to get after him as often as they can because Freeman is one hit to his thumb away from being on the bench.
If they can’t pressure him, then the Browns will be in trouble. Freeman will find his targets, especially former Browns’ draft pick, Kellen Winslow Jr.
2. How do the Buccaneers plan on stopping the Browns’ running game? The Bucs had the worst rushing defense last year, and the Browns plan on being an offense based on the run.
They addressed their defense with their first two picks in this years draft by selecting two defensive tackls, Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. These two guys are starting up front, and will be applying a lot of push up front.
Outside of them, the Bucs will look to bring pressure from all angles. Linebacker Barrett Ruud is a reliable tackler, so if Harrison gets by the D-Line, Ruud will be waiting for him. Safety Sean Jones could be utilized on safety blitzes from the middle, as well as the outside to assist in stopping the run.
3. If Tampa Bay is going to win this game, who has to step up and have the best game on both sides of the ball?
The obvious choice is Josh Freeman, but I’ll go out on a limb and say RB Cadillac Williams. The injury plagued halfback will be heavily used with Freeman battling a thumb injury. If he can rip apart the Browns 26th ranked run defense from last season, then Freeman will have an easy day.
4. Some believe that Eric Mangini could be on the hot seat early if the Browns stumble out of the gate. What is your opinion on Bucs coach Raheem Morris, and is he the right guy to take Tampa Bay back to contention?
Morris has taken a different style into this season. Instead of being friendly with the guys, he’s being more aggresive and flat out telling guys what they are doing wrong. I don’t mind Morris, personally, but if he can’t get more than four wins this season, he could possibly be on his way out.
5. So, who wins?
I gotta go with the Bucs in a close game. 20 – 16