The previous key is much easier said than done, as Cleveland cornerbacks are not very physical. In fact, the secondary in general is very unreliable, and can’t be expected to slow down Giants receivers on their own.
What the Browns can do though to try to make up for this troubling trend is send pressure to rattle Manning. Judging based on past performances, Manning will struggle when under immense pressure. This presents quite an opportunity to defensive coordinator Ray Horton and company.
The question is, will they seize the opportunity? In past weeks, they haven’t. The Browns have been too concerned with playing it safe that they have allowed quarterbacks far too much time in an intact pocket to find receivers.
This week, it is time to stop leaving the secondary out to dry. Horton should allow some of his best pass rushers a chance at rushing the passer. Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, and Demario Davis need to be spending more time trying to get by a sub-par left side of the offensive line.
Also, since the Giants have a habit of running the ball on every first down, it wouldn’t be the worst strategy to bring more pressure. Focusing on stopping the run first would be a start for a defense which surrenders an average of 143.9 rushing yards per game, the second-most in football.
An indicator to look for is the left guard, who almost always pulls on a running play to the right side. Anticipating subtle elements of the game such as these are critical to the team’s success on defense. They need to take risks, but the risks need to be calculated. Aggressiveness is really the only way to get to a Giants offense which has propelled New York to five consecutive wins.