Cleveland Browns: D’Ernest Johnson, Demetric Felton ready to carry the ball vs Arizona
Will Demetric Felton get his first carries versus Cardinals?
Rookie Demetric Felton may get some work in as well. Thus far, the Browns have been content to use Felton as a pass-receiving option. This week he may get some carries, too. Like Johnson, Felton did not quite light up the radar gun on the 40-yard dash, though 4.58 is well within acceptable times.
For example, Clyde Edwards-Helaire looks unbelievably fast on the field, especially moving laterally, but his Combine time was 4.61, or a few ticks slower than Felton’s. Edwards-Helaire is not huge, either. He is 5-foot-8 and 207 pounds, whereas Felton is an inch taller and is listed at 189 pounds.
Thus far, Felton has only six catches in seven targets, a catch percentage of 85.7%. He is listed as wide receiver by Pro Football Focus, but the Browns list him as a running back. We probably should get out some films of Eric Metcalf and see how he earned a living. Metcalf became a 1,000-yard slot receiver after leaving Cleveland and joining the Atlanta Falcons.
Coming out of the PAC-10 may have hurt Felton in the draft because that conference did not play as much football as the SEC. That is a terrible thing to say, but the fact of the matter is that UCLA played only seven games last season, so it is difficult to see how they could have developed players to the same extent as SEC teams.
We may also see some additional plays involving new fullback Johnny Stanton to give an additional boost to the running game. All season long, Andy Janovich has struggled to get playing time because the tight ends have been so good it has been difficult to get one off the field in favor of a fullback.
Now that a real opportunity may exist, Janovich wound up on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury and so Stanton will get the snaps instead. It’s possible that the Browns will use Stanton differently than they used Janovich, based on the perception that Stanton is more dangerous as a receiver. Let’s keep an eye on this situation as it unfolds during the game.
The Browns are going to have to watch out for ever-dangerous J.J. Watt, but overall the Cardinals are not strong against the run, ranking 28th overall with 695 yards surrendered and 31st with 5.39 yards per carry.
Speaking of Watt, a lot of people questioned why he would not sign with the Browns this offseason. After all, the presumption was that the Browns were a much better team. Putting aside that narrative in view of Arizona’s 5-0 start, did anybody stop to think that the Watt brothers might actually love each other?
Maybe J.J. didn’t want to take away his brother’s shot at winning a Super Bowl. The family has a better chance of getting rings if one brother is in the NFC and one is in the AFC. Being in the same division might be fun for the fans, but not such a great idea if each brother is rooting for the other’s success. Someone in the media must have suggested this simple explanation, but if they did, it did not get much air time.
Jason (Dolphins) and Devin (Patriots) McCourty seem to have no problem playing for division rivals, but perhaps they are wired a little differently, and anyway that family already has its share of Super Bowl rings. Jason also had a tour of duty with the Browns, by the way.