On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns’ take on the Houston Texans. To help preview a few topics from Houston’s perspective, we reached out to Jeremy Brener from Battle Red Blog and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
Chris: “The Browns are getting their star running back (Nick Chubb) back this week, and also hope to have Wyatt Teller back, who was having insane production in the run blocking department prior to his injury. Houston ranks worst in the NFL at allowing 159.5 yards rushing per game. Is their run defense that terrible?”
Jeremy: “Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. This is the perfect game for Nick Chubb to get re-acclimated into the offense. If I’m Kevin Stefanski, I’m giving Hunt and Chubb 15 carries each. The Browns should run all over Houston and kill clock so that Deshaun Watson doesn’t even get a chance to put points on the board.”
Chris: “Statistically, Houston’s pass defense doesn’t look too pretty either. How has the pass defense been?”
Jeremy: “It’s not ideal. Even if the Browns decide to abandon the run game, they’ll have a shot. However, there’s a chance they get back CB1 Bradley Roby this week, so that should help. The Texans have a lot of guys in the secondary who missed with their first team and are given a “second chance” with the Texans. For instance, Eric Murray, who as you probably already know is a below-average safety, has played nearly every defensive snap for the team this season. Yep, not too pretty.”
Chris: “What is the biggest weakness on the Texans’ offensive line?”
Jeremy: “Left guard is probably their biggest weakness. It’s been a mix of veteran Senio Kelemete and second-year guy Max Scharping, though Kelemete has seen majority of playing time this season. However, Kelemete was concussed in last week’s game and Scharping was on the COVID list, leaving Brent Qvale as the third-stringer playing a chunk of snaps. There’s uncertainty as to who plays this week. If I had to guess, it’d be Scharping, but he isn’t very sharp and hasn’t played a whole lot since the beginning of the season.”
Chris: “Former Browns running back Duke Johnson gets his chance to start this week against his former team. What has fans’ impression been this season of the two Johnsons at running back (David vs. Duke)? Do any fans wish Duke had been starting?”
Jeremy: “We really like Duke down here in Houston and we wish he’d get more snaps. There’s some hidden and undeserved animosity towards David Johnson because he’s the biggest piece in the return package for DeAndre Hopkins and hasn’t lived up to it.
Duke was injured earlier in the year and hadn’t gotten a lot of playing time until last week when David Johnson left the game with a concussion. I think you’ll see more action from Duke this week as well and hopefully it leads to more playing time moving forward.”
Chris: “Tell us about one player on offense and one player on defense who Browns fans might not be familiar with, but who could make a nice contribution for this week’s game.”
Jeremy: “Offensively, I think Jordan Akins is due for a big game. Akins had been out for a few different injuries over the past month but returned against Jacksonville in a limited role. I think that number increases this week. The Texans have a very balanced offense now that Nuk is out. Six players had multiple receptions Sunday, including Akins.
Defensively, Tyrell Adams has stepped up huge in Benardrick McKinney’s absence. He’s third on the team in tackles behind Zach Cunningham and Justin Reid despite starting just four games. He has double digit tackles in three of his last four games and is critical in helping stop the run.”
Thanks again to Jeremy for taking the time to answer my questions.