How the Dawg Pound Daily Predicts Today’s Game vs Browns


Nov 2, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) throws during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Fellow Pewter Plank Editor Jose Martinez recently asked a few questions to Jared Mueller of the Dawg Pound Daily about today’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns, and he was kind enough to answer them for us. Here’s what Jared had to say about the Browns and how he sees this game shaping up.

1. The Browns are 4-3 in a tough AFC North heading into this Sunday. Where does the fan base stand going forward? Do they see how far they have progressed so far as a win or are they dead set on making that playoff push?

I think it will all be how the season goes, not the actual result. If the Browns get to 8 wins then loss their last 4 or 5 games that will be seen as a let down for awhile. If the Browns end up 8 – 8 with wins and losses along the way, especially competitive games like we have had all season, it will be seen as great progress. The biggest concern is at the QB position. Brian Hoyer has been the toast of the town, and nationally, but there are some things that cause fans to pause about getting behind him.

2. How is the confidence level for Brian Hoyer the rest of the way? Is there a chance we see Johnny Manziel in an expanded role at all this season?

Manziel will likely see an expanded role only if the team falls out of the race early. Hoyer has locked up the position with solid decision making and leading the team. His limitations are somewhat obvious: he struggles on deep throws and his accuracy can be a problem sometimes. Manziel showed very little in pre-season that he was ready for the NFL. He has a ton of work to do to learn how to be a pocket passer. Having towering Mike Evans in college really allowed him to throw balls up for completion. In the NFL, even when Josh Gordon comes back, that type of play doesn’t work. Expect Manziel for some today but nothing that will overwhelm you.

3. Who will be the Browns’ MVP for the rest of the season? Who has been their MVP so far?

The rest of the season will be interesting. I think Gordon’s return will be a huge spark for the team but I think Joe Haden has turned the corner on defense and will take the Defensive MVP for the rest of the season. On offense the Browns have a variety of players that can impact the game in different ways. He may not be the MVP but I expect Taylor Gabriel to come on strong in the second half.

So far Andrew Hawkins, the outstanding slot receiver, has been the Offensive MVP. I could watch @Hawk do his release moves all day long and not get bored. He sets up defenders so well and is quick out of every break. Hoyer has found him over and over again. Tashaun Gipson, our free safety, is doing an amazing job as a ball-hawk as our Defensive MVP.

4. Last week, the Browns looked like a completely different running team. For a team which prides itself on effectively running the ball, what went wrong this past Sunday? Is there a cause for concern?

It is a big cause for concern for the Browns. With Alex Mack gone the Browns line has been in shuffle. In the Zone Blocking Scheme it is so important that the line be on the same page and working together. The Browns had one unit the first week Mack was gone then changed it up again last week.

The line has to be able to block to make the offense go. The last two weeks the line has been getting blown back into the backfield which keeps the running backs from having room to run or find cut back lanes. Against the Bucs and Gerald McCoy that could be a huge issue. It is possible that Kyle Shanahan will play that to his advantage and run some delays and draws to let the defensive linemen up field and let the back slip in behind.

If the Browns can’t get the running game going for the third straight game it will be tough for them to win against anyone.

5. What is your prediction for the game on Sunday?

I think they get the ground game going a bit and take a victory today. Kyle Shanahan is going to have to dip into his basket of tricks to get some movement in the run game. Draws and delays will be one way as well as Jet Sweeps to Travis Benjamin and screen plays. Anything that can get the Bucs defense guessing.

The Browns defense has really come together and I expect them to have a field day against the passing game but struggle against the smaller Bobby Rainey and the fast Charles Sims. I expect the Bucs to hit on a long screen to one of those backs for a TD.

Browns 24 – Bucs 17