The Cleveland Browns have had two straight very good weeks after a very difficult start to the 2022 NFL season. The team destroyed AFC North and state rival Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football and followed that with a bye week to get healthy.
There was a lot of celebration after the win and a lot of renewed hope during the bye week.
Now, the team and fans must turn their attention to the next three games before QB Deshaun Watson returns from suspension. While some things might be up in the air, those three games have the possibility of being very difficult.
That three-game stretch starts with a matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
Not to be a negative Nancy but there are some things to be worried about in Week 10:
Tua Led Offense Has Been Great
As noted earlier this week, QB Tua Tagovailoa has thrived over the middle of the field this season. While many would believe the speed at receiver would make the offense more dangerous on the outside, the scheme has spread defenses in multiple ways opening up the middle. Tagovailoa has been great at making decisions with the football.
Miami is undefeated (6-0) in games Tua has finished this season.
Speed, Speed and more Speed
While Tagovailoa was our first point, the first thing everyone thinks about with the Dolphins is the speed. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are two of the fastest players in the NFL, if not the two fastest. It doesn’t stop there as RBs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson have elite speed as well.
Not only are those players straight line fast but they have shown quickness and acceleration in and out of breaks. The ability to stop and start on a dime makes every move a possible double move and any open field a possible touchdown.
Mike McDaniel’s Scheme
Speaking of open field, McDaniel has done a great job of creating space for his offense. With their speed, many of McDaniel’s plays have players stretching vertically on deep routes and horizontally near the line of scrimmage. This is what has opened up the middle of the field for Tagovaoila to thrive.
With all the speed and route combinations, zone coverages get spread quickly. With all the speed and agility, very few defenses can stick in man-to-man coverage for very long.
Miami’s Front 7
While the offense gets the bulk of the attention, for good reason, the defense has some talent as well. Interestingly, seven of the team’s top eight defensive players in PFF’s grades come in their front seven. That doesn’t include the newly added Bradley Chubb.
Melvin Ingram and Jaelan Phillips lead the team with three sacks each from their standup edge positions. Christian Wilkins has been stout against the run and pushing the pocket from the middle of the defense. The addition of Chubb should make things easier for Phillips while giving the veteran Ingram some rest.
Browns Defensive Changes
The final on-the-field worry for this week is not a surprise given all the good said about Miami’s offense. Cleveland's defense has struggled this year but looked better in the last two games. Now the team is expecting to get Denzel Ward back but could be without Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
Ward hasn’t seen the field in a month and JOK’s speed will be dearly missed. The linebacker group would be without three of its top players to start the season possibly on Sunday. With the middle-of-the-field success from the Dolphins, that could be bad news.
Are Fans Setting Too High of Hopes?
Expectations can be so impactful. If you think a movie is going to be great, it has a lot to live up to and can often disappoint. Browns fans most recently saw their team destroy the Bengals and get healthy on their bye week. Have some of them set their expectations too high for this three-game stretch?
A Twitter poll says it is possible. Early Thursday morning, over 57% of the 2,100 fans to vote in the poll expect the team to win two or more games over the next three:
Want to see something…— Football Chopz (@Pchopz_) November 9, 2022
What are your Browns expectations for the next 3 games:
It is the NFL so every week should come with some worries. That doesn’t mean Cleveland can’t win or won’t win on Sunday but we want to at least not the concerns.
What are your worries this week? Have your expectations risen greatly?