CLEVELAND – The winning scent wafting through Cleveland these days somehow hasn’t reached FirstEnergy Stadium yet: The Browns still stink.
LeBron James rules the town, the Indians have captivated the place, but little has changed with the football team.
The Jets (2-5) have emanated their own special stench this season, but, believe it or not, they’re better than their winless opponent Sunday. This might not be a layup, but it’s pretty close.
“We worry about our own record,” Todd Bowles said about the prospect of overlooking the only 0-7 team in the league. “Ours isn’t too glowing right now.”
Fair enough, but the Browns are particularly punchless.
Hue Jackson is a very good coach, but he isn’t a miracle worker. He has 19 rookies on the 53-man roster. 19! He has played six different quarterbacks in seven games. (He sure could have used a young star signal caller like Philly’s Carson Wentz. It’s too bad the Browns weren’t in position to draft a guy like him).
The Browns are about to log their ninth consecutive losing season. They’ve had one winning campaign in the past 13 years. The next time Jets fans feel sorry for themselves, consider that the Browns haven’t won a playoff game since Bill Clinton’s first term in office. They’ve made the postseason twice in the past 26 years. They’ve never touched the Lombardi Trophy.
That’s bad, folks.
Jackson’s team could have won a game or two along the way this season. Cleveland led in the fourth quarter against the Ravens and Washington. They missed three field goals against the Dolphins, including a game-winner at the end of regulation.
“If you watch their season, they’re two chip-shot field goals away from beating Miami,” Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said. “They had Baltimore (down) 20-2 at one point…. We’re not looking at an 0-7 team, though their record says that. Those guys should have won several games… It’s a good football team with a lot of good players.”
The Cavaliers won the NBA title and the Indians are currently battling the Cubs in the World Series, but the Browns? The Browns are as bad as ever.
(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
A quick fact check reveals that the Browns are a bad football team with few good players.
Exhibits A-Z: Cleveland gave up a Big 12-esque 559 total yards, including a laughable 9.2 yards per play, to the Bengals last week. Cincinnati rushed for 271 yards on 9.0 yards per rush. That’s epically terrible.
The Browns are next-to-last in yards allowed (425.6), yards per play (6.5) and rush defense (185.1 ypg). Only two teams have given up more points per game than their 29.6. They’re 29th in passing yards allowed (285.7). No team has given up more touchdown passes (18).
Other than that, this defense looks eerily similar to the ’85 Bears.
“Playing in Cleveland is never easy,” Brandon Marshall said. “They’re probably one of the toughest teams, because they fight. That’s impressive when you look at their record. Now that they have Josh (McCown) back (at quarterback), he’ll have those guys fired up and ready to play.”
Marshall might have a point McCown actually is decent but the Browns have limited firepower other than explosive versatile college quarterback-turned-pro receiver Terrelle Pryor. Sorry, but running back Isiah Crowell doesn’t exactly strike fear into an opponent.
The Jets, of course, have their own issues. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey admitted that it’ll be “ideal” to lean on the same run-heavy blueprint that snapped their four-game losing streak last week rather than air it out with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
“If we can continue to run the football and not make him go try to win it with eight straight throws to win a game at the end every week…” Gailey said. “There’s going to be some weeks where he is going to have to do that he did it last year but we’d like to stay away from that if we can.”
Nothing will ease concerns from fatalistic Jets fans who remember that there have been four times in franchise history when they wound up being a team’s only win that season. It hasn’t happened since the Jets lost to the Jeff George-led 0-9 Colts in 1991.
Are the Browns, who will likely win sooner or later, actually dangerous?
“You never know what can happen,” Marshall said.
Can you imagine if the Jets actually lost to this hapless bunch?
* * *
JETS AT BROWNS, FirstEnergy Stadium, 1 p.m.
LINE: JETS BY 3; O/U: 40 1/2
TV: Ch. 2 (Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon)
RADIO: ESPN 98.7 FM (Bob Wischusen and Marty Lyons); in Spanish on WEPN 1050 AM (Clemson Smith-Muniz, Oscar Benitez)
FORECAST: A little morning raid. High 57°, Low 47°; Chance of rain: 64%.
JETS HOT READ: Center Wesley Johnson
Nick Mangold, the Jets’ starting center, is doubtful for Sunday with a severely sprained right ankle that’s kept him out of practice all week. He almost certainly won’t play against the Browns, which means backup Wesley Johnson will be called upon to anchor the offensive line. Johnson has yet to start a game for the Jets in 2016, but he’s replaced Mangold in two games after the 11-year Gang Green veteran went down with injuries. Against the Steelers, Mangold was forced to leave in the second half because of a tweaked knee. Johnson stepped in and played 19 snaps. His bigger workload, though, came this past weekend against the Ravens, when Mangold sustained the sprained ankle early in the contest. Johnson entered and played close to 60 snaps, helping running back Matt Forte to his most productive performance since Week 2. Nonetheless, Mangold will be missed.
“You have a hard time replacing Nick,” offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said this week. “(He’s) a highly intelligent football player that manages a lot of things for you.”
TRAINING ROOM: LB Bruce Carter (quad) and LB Darron Lee (ankle) are OUT. C Nick Mangold (ankle), T Brent Qvale (neck), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) and CB Buster Skrine (knee) are DOUBTFUL. T Ryan Clady (shoulder), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) are QUESTIONABLE.
BROWNS HOT READ: CB Joe Haden
Browns cornerback Joe Haden appears to be ready to return from a groin injury just in time to face off with Brandon Marshall. Haden is far and away the Brown’s best cornerback and is arguably the team’s best defender. But he’s been hampered by two separate groin problems this season, missing three of Cleveland’s seven games, including the past two weeks. Haden is officially questionable, though Hue Jackson told reporters this week that he expects the seventh-year Florida product to be out there Sunday. Haden also said he thinks he’s going to be able to play. That’s bad news for Marshall, who’s already dealing with heavier coverages because of the loss of Eric Decker. Since Decker first suffered his shoulder injury in Week 2, Marshall’s gone up against some of game’s top corners with mixed results. He mustered just 27 receiving yards against the Chiefs and young stud Marcus Peters. He responded with 89 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman the following week. Then on Monday night against the Cardinals in Week 6, Marshall finished with 70 yards on three catches going up against Patrick Peterson.
TRAINING ROOM: WR Corey Coleman (hand) and QB Cody Kessler (concussion) are OUT. CB Marcus Burley (hamstring), CB Joe Haden (groin) and CB Jamar Taylor (groin) are QUESTIONABLE.
The Browns have lost their first seven games of the season as well as suffering numerous injuries, including losing QB Austin Reiter.
(Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
With Daniel Popper
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News