This Sunday, the Cleveland Browns play their home opener against the Baltimore Ravens. To help preview the Week 2 contest, I reached out to Kyle Barber from Baltimore Beatdown and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
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Chris: “Former Browns running back Terrance West seems to be battling with veteran Justin Forsett for snaps. Is there a back who fans wish would see the majority of playing time, or is a 50-50 split good enough?”
Kyle: “With only one game in the books fans want to continue the 50-50 carry splits. Both Justin Forsett and Terrance West provide two great skillsets, but are completely different from one another. Expect the split to continue throughout the season.”
Chris: “I didn't expect the Ravens' defense to be fantastic this year, but they turned in a great Week 1 performance, keeping the Bills to 160 total yards of offense. Were you just as surprised by that? What happened? ”
Kyle: “I also was surprised, throughout the preseason the Ravens pass defense lacked, and Shareece Wright wasn't provided great coverage skill as the number two corner. In Week 1, he became a tackling machine, posting 11 tackles, including 3 for a loss. I believe the reasoning for such success in Week 1 was the addition of Eric Weddle. He takes charge and his knowledge of the game keeps players in the right position to make plays.”
Chris: “Steve Smith is back for another season -- has he shown any signs of slowing down finally?”
Kyle: “With only one game down I can't give too much insight, but he isn't the main target like last season. It could be the team slowly getting him worked in, but also the ravens finally have a multitude of weapons. I think age is catching up, but Steve Smith will no doubt be a playmaker this season.”
Chris: “What would you consider the weakest spot on the Ravens' offensive line?”
Kyle: “The weakest part of the line is the left guard position. As it stands the Ravens are rolling with a mixture of John Urschel and Alex Lewis. Ronnie Stanley and Rick Wagner both are providing great play at the tackle positions, and everybody knows Marshal Yanda's play is top tier. It looks as if the team needs to play more and build the chemistry lost from KO.”
Chris: “In two games last year, Josh McCown threw for 669 yards and 3 touchdown passes, to go along with 1 rushing touchdown, against the Ravens. Has Baltimore's secondary changed or improved from a year ago, or could we see him have Baltimore's number again?”
Kyle: “I'm not particularly excited about facing Josh McCown, but I'm very confident the Ravens still win this contest. The Ravens secondary the past few years has put literal practice squad cornerbacks on the gridiron due to injury, but as it stands no defensiveback is missing from the starting group. Put in the addition of Eric Weddle and the team clearly has improved. I believe the re-tooling of the Ravens will give Josh McCown fits.”
Thanks again to Kyle for taking the time to answer my questions.