Ravens week 4 film study: What we know about the Browns
The Baltimore Ravens are about to take on the Cleveland Browns. I took some time to study their game against the Los Angeles Rams to get a better idea of what the 2019 Browns are about:
Offensively the Browns aren’t rolling on all cylinders. It isn’t horrible, but it isn’t great either. Baker Mayfield is coming off a fairly frustrating performance against the Rams. Mayfield only completed half of his passes and a passer rating that he’d like to forget.
The best part of this offense is without a doubt Nick Chubb. Chubb had 96 yards on 23 carries against the Rams. The Browns run blocking isn’t overly impressive however they are good at opening a little crease for Chubb. Chubb does the rest. Chubb is a physical back who doesn’t dance around in the backfield. When he can get around the edge he’s dangerously good. If the Browns offensive line was better, this running game would be deadly.
The Browns love quick passes to their play-makers and they aren’t afraid of the screen game. The Ravens biggest concern should be covering the slot receiver. Jarvis Landry in particular is always available for a quick completion. The Browns talented route runners offer a big challenge to the Ravens secondary. The Browns can move around where Odell Beckham Jr. lines up which could lead to match up problems for a secondary that is having a lot of problems.
Mayfield doesn’t handle the pass rush very well when it’s right in his face. He’s tough and gutsy so sometimes he will have a great completion under duress. More often than not though, Mayfield loses track of his receivers and makes a poor decision.
Mayfield had the chance to be the hero against the Rams. He had four cracks at the end zone on the last drive of the game. On three of the four plays, the Rams got good pressure inside. Mayfield’s release was rushed and on a couple of those throws he didn’t have a chance. The answer to stopping Mayfield is mid line pressure. If you give him a pocket he throws a great ball and it looks pretty. If you get in his face the results are much less consistent for him.
On offense the Ravens need to take advantage of the play-action passing game. The Rams were able to compete a good amount of passes with the play-action pass. The Browns struggled to cover the intermediate passes, especially off the play fake.
The type of routes that the Browns struggled the most with were out routes, and comeback routes to the sideline. They also had difficulty keeping up across the field in man coverage. Instead of trying to beat them deep, Marquise Brown should get a lot of in-breaking routes. Look for drags, digs and slants to give the Browns problems if they want to use man coverage. This game was built for yards after the catch.
I’ve never been a fan of the reverse because if the defense stays gap sound and disciplined it gets stuffed. That being said Robert Woods had a decent run with it and when you have the speed of Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin it has to be tempting for Greg Roman. The Browns should have trouble with the speed of the Ravens offense. There is a reason that Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp combined for 19 receptions for over 200 yards.
The Browns defense isn’t afraid to send a blitz here and there however they typically try to get pass rush with a four to five man rush. They have a very talented defensive front. The player that poses the biggest match-up problem is Larry Ogunjobi. The inside of the Ravens offensive line will have it’s hands full. Ogunjobi is explosive and he’s too quick for a lot of interior lineman. If I was the Browns’ defensive coordinator I would test Bradley Bozeman and Matt Skura relentlessly.
The Ravens face an offense that isn’t in sync when their defense isn’t either. The Ravens face a capable defense but one that they should be able to move the ball on. If Denzel Ward misses the game, the Ravens receivers should have a good game. This is the type of game where getting back on track is on the menu. Let’s hope that’s what the Ravens order and not what the Browns get.