5 pivotal matchups in the Browns season opener

Browns, Myles Garrett. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Browns, Myles Garrett. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Browns, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /

4. JOK vs CMC

While most of the national media is focusing on the Baker Mayfield angle of Sunday’s matchup in Carolina, rest assured the Browns defense has a different primary focus, keeping Christian McCaffery in check. When healthy, there’s not a more versatile running back in the NFL than CMC. However, it has been over two full seasons since Carolina’s Swiss army knife has been healthy enough to be his ultra-effective self.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, they are facing a fresh McCaffery who will be as close to full strength as he will be all season. How will the Browns look to slow down CMC and keep him from wrecking the game? Well, for starters, the Browns will deploy the most versatile athlete they have on the defensive side of their roster…linebacker, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

JOK should prove to be Cleveland’s best answer for limiting CMC. That statement holds especially true in the passing game. Just as McCaffery could be considered an extra wide receiver in Carolina’s passing offense, Owusu-Koramoah has the ball skills and coverage ability of a nickel corner.

While completely stopping CMC is out of the question, with the exception of an injury, slowing him down can be accomplished by utilizing JOK’s new-age linebacker athleticism. Owusu-Koramoah is a unique chess piece, and the Browns would be wise to use him to checkmate the Panther’s offensive game plan.