Browns Vs Jaguars: Four Reasons For Concern

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Dec 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts (84) catches the game winning pass in the end zone while being defended by Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) in the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns face off with the Jacksonville Jaguars in five hours. The two teams have laid at the bottom of the AFC for a few years. Each drafted a first round quarterback that they hoped would be their long-term solution to a problem plaguing them for years. Each has brought in a defensive minded head coach hoping to instill a tough-minded, winning approach. Yet for now they sit at different places on the NFL landscape. The Browns are darlings with a 3 – 2 record, a half game out of both the AFC North lead and a playoff spot. The Jaguars are winless and the only six loss team in the league.

Yet there are reasons for concern for Browns fans going into Browns Vs Jaguars today and we are going to explore them here.

Jaguars Offensive Philosophy

Gus Bradley has brought over from the Seattle Seahawks a run first offensive philosophy. The Jags, much like the Browns, want to set up the pass by using the run. They have not had a huge amount of success so far this season running the ball, currently ranked last in the NFL in yards, but now face a Browns defense that has struggled mightily in that aspect. The Browns will be without three, possibly four, of their top six defensive linemen for today’s game as well.

That combination could lead to big problems for the Browns as well as build the Jaguars confidence. If Storm JohnsonDenard Robinson and the rest of the backs replacing Toby Gerhart can get rolling early it will setup difficult decisions for the Browns on defense. With Tashaun Gipson questionable the Browns could be ripe for the pickings on deep play action passes. Joe Haden, while improved last week, historically struggles on double moves which, coupled with play action, could cause issues.

For the Jags it all starts with their running game, that has solid concepts and could come together against a wounded Browns defense.

Blake Bortles

Bortles was this writer’s desired pick at #4 during last year’s draft. Had the Browns had a shot at him and still made the trade with the Bills I would have still supported the trade but Bortles was my #1 guy for the Browns. His base, feet, size, arm, leadership and drive to succeed, made him a perfect fit behind Brian Hoyer. Unlike Johnny Manziel, who seems to have a ton to unlearn, Bortles showed, and now has shown in the NFL, he just has a lot to learn.

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So far so good for Bortles. He has been far from perfect but he has given Jaguar fans hope that their future has arrived. Bortles is completing about 68% of his passes, though they are mostly short, safe throws, since taking over as starter. Last week by far was his best statistical week, throwing for 336 yards, on 70% completion percentage, with one touchdown and one INT. He also ran five times for 38 yards.

It is his running ability, which includes the ability to extend plays out of the pocket, that should concern the Browns the most. The Browns struggled against a similar style, but smaller, Jake Locker when they played the Titans. Bortles is bigger, faster and a better passer than Locker. The Browns must maintain contain (Feel like that should have been this week’s slogan) against Bortles. If not the integrity of the defense could be test in a variety of ways.

Two More Concerns on the Next Page