2. New faces for the Browns
Andrew Berry hit the ground running quickly as the new general manager, which included signing many new faces on the offense and the defense. While adding talent is great, the Browns will have similar challenges as the Ravens in week one with many new faces on the defense. Each player will need to be on top of their game to give the Browns a chance at winning.
Jacob Phillips was the Brown’s third-round pick out of LSU in 2020. Phillips played next to Queen and the two made a tremendous team on the inside. While Queen stole most of the accolades, Phillips actually had more tackles in each of his final two years in Baton Rouge. Phillips is a downhill player who should be great at stopping the run, but he must improve his pass coverage. With a talent like Jackson at quarterback, it will be important that Phillips isn’t fooled on play action.
Sione Takitaki will be entering year two of the NFL and many have raved that he is the most improved player at camp from year one to year two. Takitaki didn’t get much action on the field last year as he just wasn’t ready to take the plunge, but after an injury to Wilson, now is his time to shine. Takitaki must use his athleticism and make his reads. It’s important he doesn’t use his eyes, which will lead to deception in the Ravens attack.
Veterans Karl Joseph, Andrew Sendejo, and Malcolm Smith will also play crucial roles in this Sunday’s defensive game plan. While all three have proven they can play in the league, they must step up their leadership on a young squad.
For this unit to have success this year, Takitaki and Phillips both must play tremendous, but especially against the Ravens to stop the dominant rushing attack.