Week 7: Positives and Negatives

Rant Alert!  If you only care about the positives and negative skip this section.  Johnny Manziel.  Now that I have your attention, Johnny Manziel, should he start next week against the Raiders?  Browns fans have will have to endure a week of the media asking this question.  In my opinion (and this opinion is not held by many at CST), the Browns should start Manziel against the Raiders (go ahead rip me all you want).  Through their first 6 games, the Jaguars had given up an average of 294 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, while only intercepting one pass all season.  Naturally, you would expect Brian Hoyer, one of the league’s most efficient quarterback’s, to have a career day against the Jags.  Not so fast my friend!  Hoyer went 16-for-41 (39% completion rate) for 215 yards (5.2 yards per completion) with no touchdowns and 1 interception.

Sure, Hoyer has looked extremely good in the first 5 games of the season, but he was helped out by a good running game, and that run game was held in check against the Jags.  Is it too early to give up on a 29-year old quarterback starting just his 9th career game, and insert a 21-year old, first round pick, who was the most exciting player in college football for 2 years?  Remember when people said that Manziel would be starting by game 4?  If you are going to start Manziel now is the time.  The Browns next two games are at home and they are playing teams that rank in the bottom third in defense.  If the Browns are ever going to start Manziel, this the prime opportunity to do it.

Positives: Spoiler Alert, there aren’t many.

Tashaun Gipson: Gipson seems to get better every week he plays.  He intercepted 2 passes in this game, bringing his season total up to 4 picks on the season.  I really don’t understand how the Browns secondary isn’t one of the best in the league.  Joe Haden, Donte Whitner, and Tashaun Gipson all have Pro Bowl talent.

Andrew Hawkins: After being held without a catch in week 6 against the Steelers, Hawkins had his best game against the Jaguars.  He had a career 112-yards (helped out by a 65-yard catch) on 5 receptions.  Hawkins is on pace to break the 1,000 yard barrier, but won’t likely get there, as the return of Josh Gordon will hinder his numbers.  Still, not bad for a #3 receiver.

Pass Defense: Sure, it was against a rookie in Blake Bortles, and sure the Jaguars didn’t really have to pass that often, but the Browns secondary made plays and held Bortles in check.  On the day, Bortles went 17-for-31 for 159 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions.

Negatives: I could take the easy way out and just put everything, but I’m not.

Brian Hoyer: 16-for-41 for 215 yards, no touchdowns and an interception against the worst team in the league.  Need I say more?

Manziel Talk: For the next week the biggest question facing the Browns will be, “Is it time for the Johnny Football era?”

The Offense: Against a Jaguars team that came into game with the 30th ranked defense, the Browns scored 6 points and had 266 yards.  For the season the Jaguars allowed an average of 411.2 yards a game and 30.8 points a game.

The Run Offense: Coming into the game, the Browns had the 3rd best run offense in the league, averaging 146.4 yards a game.  Against the Jaguars, the Browns had 69 yards on 30 attempts, an average of 2.3 yards per rush.  The Browns offense depends on the rushing attack to set up the pass attack, it didn’t work against Jacksonville.

Coaching: Just a few days ago, Kyle Shanahan was dubbed a genius with his play calling.  Mike Pettine talked the talk all week, but didn’t have his team prepared for the game.  The Browns opted for going for it on 4th down on multiple occasions, by-passing field goals.  If the Browns coaching pitched a perfect game in week 6, then they got chased in the 1st inning in week 7.

Jordan *Bleeping* Poyer: The Browns defense stopped the Jaguars late in the 4th quarter, forcing the Jags to punt, and giving the Browns offense a chance to take the lead.  Want to know how not to field a punt?  Click here to learn how.  A normal returner never goes past the 10-yard line to return a punt, let alone field it at the 2.  So many things went wrong on this play, classic Browns.

Run Defense: The vaunted Jacksonville running game, you know, the one that ranked 32nd in the league, averaging 69.5 yards a game.  Well, they were able to run for 185 yards on 35 attempts and 2 touchdowns.  Denard Robinson, the former Michigan quarterback, ran for 127 yards on 22 carries, an average of 5.8 yards per carry.  Is it time to worry about the run defense?

— Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)

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