Here we go, in just their second week of the 2018 season, the Cleveland Browns will take on a fired up Saints at the Superdome. The Saints started off with a stunning upset by the Buccaneers, and this team will be ready to play come Sunday. Drew Brees, even in a loss, completed 37 of 47 attempts (83.22%) for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brees used the entire field of play, scoring an overall PFF grade of 95.9, which ranks 2nd in the NFL. They say the NFL is turning into a pass-first league, but this game took it to the next level.
There is one glaring stat from the Saints first game that stands out. The Saints only managed to rush for 43 yards. When you have a total of 475 yards of offense and only 43 came from the run, you’re looking at a one-dimensional offensive approach. The Saints used a combination of Alvin Kamara for 8 attempts, Mike Gillislee for 3 attempts, and Ted Ginn Jr. for 1 attempt. With 64 total snaps and only 15 runs plays the lack of balance will take away the play action completely. When less than 25% of a team’s 64 total offensive snaps are run plays, they lose the play action completely.
The speed of the game will increase playing on the turf inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This creates an advantage for the offense, allowing the receivers to get off the snap quickly. But I say not so fast! Let’s not forget the standout performances by two rookies (#21 Denzel Ward, #55 Genard Avery) and the already-great #95 Myles Garrett. I’d argue that the conditions in the Superdome benefit the speed of the Cleveland Browns defense. Denzel Ward pulled in two interceptions and 4 tackles, scoring an overall PFF grade of 85.6 in his debut. Ward held his REC% ( percentage of targets caught) to 60%, below the NFL league average of 66.7%. This while competing against one of the best-receiving groups, along with a future HOF quarterback in Roethlisberger. Both Genard Avery and Myles Garrett combined for 3 of the defense’s 4 sacks, helping the overall defense force 6 turnovers.
While yes, the speed of the turf will help the Saints’ offense, it’s also the perfect opportunity for the Browns to increase the level of pressure applied to Drew Brees. The Saints have a weakness on the right side of the offensive line. It’s a small crack in a team most had projected to make the Super Bowl this year. Coach Gregg Williams has the weapons to turn that into a crater. The combination of Genard Avery and Myles Garrett applying pressure from the edges and #65 Larry Ogunjobi coming full steam from the middle, these Dawgs could be eating Drew Brees’s lunch all day.
This game is not going to be a walk in the park for the Browns Sunday. The team simply isn’t set up for a shoot out, 40plus point game. It will be vital for the Browns offense to slowly hold on to each possession. It’s crucial for them to take as much time off the clock as possible, and never fail at putting points on the board. Coach Haley will need to understand that Tyrod Taylor’s best game will be the short one, with the run being the first option. The Browns’ offense must allow the defense time to recover so each defensive player can go at 100%. The entire team needs to be “in it to win it,” including their strong leg kicker #2 Zane Gonzalez. If the offense can get close to his maximum range, he needs to be ready to take the shot and be accurate. There is a lot on the line for both teams, being that neither won their first in-division game. Winning isn’t an option this Sunday—it’s a necessity.
Written By: @Chadp71
Edited By: @Robzie_