Clearly, the Browns aren’t going to move the ball down the field against the Cowboys’ defense on the ground. The identity offensive-minded head coach Hue Jackson is trying to establish is an exciting, play-making offense which moves the ball through the air. While Kessler isn’t quite as effective throwing the deep ball as Robert Griffin III, the rookie has been given opportunities to air it out in recent weeks.
On Sunday, expect nothing different. The Browns must put pressure on a solid secondary of the Cowboys which ranks ninth in football. Doing this will require another incredible performance from wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. Excelling in man-to-man coverage, Pryor will more than likely get five or six shots to make a play on a deep ball.
Of course, this play is ideal for second or third down and short. While the Browns have aired it out on first down in past weeks, this has gotten them behind the sticks. It would be best this week to try to create situations where a deep ball could be thrown by taking the yards the Cowboys’ defense will allow. This will put the Browns in an ideal down-and-distance, and will keep the defense on their heels.
If the Cowboys are able to shut down Pryor, Cleveland must find another source of play-making ability down the field. This could come in the form of 2015 Pro Bowl tight end Gary Barnidge, or Andrew Hawkins, who caught two touchdown passes last week.
Regardless of who the target down the field is, the Browns need to have solid pass protection and avoid turnovers. If they are able to do this, Kessler and his receivers will have an opportunity to finish drives, which will keep the Browns close in what could be a high scoring game.