Texans, Like the Jaguars, Create Concerns
The Cleveland Browns face off with the Houston Texans early this afternoon. The Browns are leading the AFC North at 6 – 3 while the Texans, at 4 – 5, are two games back from the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South.
The Texans are also breaking in new starting QB in Ryan Mallett and will be without star running back Arian Foster. Yet the Texans are a big threat to the Browns plans to get another home win, they are 4 – 1 at home, and keep their lead in the division.
The big concern is a repeat of the Browns issues against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Browns worst loss on the season, 24 – 6, came against a rookie QB, Blake Bortles, and an less than proven set of offensive weapons. The real problem was the Browns inability to get anything going on offense. This is the only game the Browns didn’t score 21 or more points.
The Jags defensive line was the key to their dominance. The Jaguars were in the Browns backfield on both run and pass plays, disrupting what the Kyle Shanahan offense was looking to accomplish. Quick penetration is problematic for the Zone Blocking Run Scheme. This was the Browns first game without Alex Mack and the offensive line struggled.
Against the Jags, the Browns were only able to run for 69 yards, with a 2.3 yards per carry average. The run game sets up everything the Browns want to do on offense. The inability to run the ball made life difficult on Brian Hoyer as well. He threw for 215 yards but only completed 16 of 41 passes for 5.2 yards per attempt average.
The Jags were led by their defensive line Sen’Derrick Marks even though he only had 1 tackle. His lone tackle was a tackle for loss while he also had 2 quarterback hits and two passes deflected. His constant penetration allowed the rest of the defense to make the plays. If Marks can be some impactful it brings concern for what J.J. Watt could do today.
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Marks’ penetration made things easier for other defenders who accumulated 3 sacks. Two linebackers each had one sack each while defensive end Chris Clemons also got a sack. The Texans linebacker group is highly talented and could benefit from attention given to Watt, much like the Jaguars Marks did for his team.
All combined the Jaguars accumulated 7 tackles for loss based on their penetration. They also deflected 6 passes, all by their defensive line and linebackers. The Watt problem could cause even more issues for the Browns today.
Hopefully the resurgent offensive line and more experience in the Kyle Shanahan system will help the Browns be better prepared for the Texans. The Jaguars were able to dominate and the Texans are a more talented group. If the Browns don’t figure out what didn’t work in the Week 7 loss against the Jags we could be in for a long day today.
Do you think the Browns have learned their lesson from their Jaguars loss in advance of today’s Texans game?