Browns must neutralize Sheldon Richardson
There is no way to sugar coat this, Sheldon Richardson must be stopped. Any time he is left on a single block, he makes the play. He is able to chase down running backs down the line of scrimmage, he consistently gets pressure in the pass rush and he is extremely difficult (even with double-teams) at the point of attack. The Browns must scheme to get double-teams or chips from running backs to slow him down. The best the Browns can hope for is to limit his plays.
However, scheming for Richardson opens other problems. The Jets effectively utilized an under front against the Ravens. They used Richardson as the “3 Technique” in the scheme. By putting Richardson there, the offensive line must now account for the linebacker covering the A-gap unoccupied as well as the nose tackle lined up in the opposite A-gap. The result will be a one-on-one block to the following: Richardson, the nose tackle or the linebacker.
Herein lies the problem. The Jets nose tackle, Steve McLendon, effectively defeats one-on-one blocks. He terrorized the Ravens last week. McLendon is big and uses his size and strength effectively. He main move is to overpower the opposing center to create havoc.
It is these types of players that Cameron Erving has struggled against during his career. Against this type of player, Erving often gets overpowered leading to hits on the quarterback. As evidence, simply review the Ravens game from Week 2. Browns fans should begin to feel concerned at the thought of McLendon one-on-one versus Cam Erving the entire game.