The Chargers face the Cleveland Browns this week in Cleveland. The Browns have some good players in running back Trent Richardson, quarterback Brandon Weeden, and wide receivers Josh Gordon and Josh Cooper. Brandon Weeden can throw the ball down field but they aren’t as often as his mid-range and over-the-middle throws; but when he does, it is usually on target. His main down-field wide receiver on these throws is 13 Josh Gordon. Gordon can get down field quickly and adjust to the football while it is in the air very smoothly and make some great catches and touchdowns. He can also get great yards after the catch once he has the football. Another one of Weeden’s favorite targets in the passing game is 88 Josh Cooper. Cooper usually gets the mid-range passes and makes most of his catches easily. The other receivers, like 15 Little, tight end 82 Watson, and 80 Benjamin, all make over-the-middle catches and short routes toward the sidelines. What makes them dangerous is that after the catch they can pick up extra yards with their speed, which also helps Weeden get his consecutive passes and limits his interceptions.
The other half of the offense is their run game. Of course Trent Richardson is their number one back, but since injuring his ribs against the Bengals, he has only played until the second quarter. The other running backs behind Richardson are also great runners. They can catch passes and get some great runs and move the chains. Number 20 Hardesty is the second running back who has had great games these last two weeks against the Colts and Bengals. He can run in the middle, make people miss when he is running through the hole, and has good speed. The third back the Browns use is number 25 Chris Ogbonnaya; he catches a lot of screen passes and short passes out of the backfield, and has the speed to make plays after the catch. Their offensive line does a good job of blocking and giving the running backs run lanes. They also give Weeden time to scan the field and make throws, and he doesn’t get sacked that much from the games I’ve watched. When they get around mid-field they like to take their shot down field with Gordon. With some of the mid-field and short throws, Weeden’s passes sometimes get batted down. The Chargers defensive line should put their hands up when Weeden drops back to pass, which will hopefully result in batted down passes. The Browns’ wide receivers also drop the football sometimes, which can kill their drives.
The Browns’ defense is what keeps the Browns in the games through the first half. In the third quarter they have a lot of three and out stops and do create turnovers either with strip fumbles or interceptions. Their two defensive ends, number 97 Jabaal Sheard and number 95 Juqua Parker, close in the pocket and get some sacks on quarterbacks. Their corners, Haden 23 and Brown 24, and strong safety 43 Ward, are their playmakers on the outside with deflecting passes or with turnovers. In the middle their linebackers, 53 Robertson, 56 Maiava, and 52 Jackson, make plays in the run game, and are quick. Then there is Joshua Cribbs, their playmaker on special teams, kick returns, and as a wide receiver. He can throw a pass as well. The Chargers’ special teams unit and defense better be ready for Cribbs – he is capable of making a big play at any time. The Browns are a young team but they make great plays, and the more games they play, the more dangerous the team will become. The Chargers better not take this team lightly.