The Miami Dolphins are taking on the Cleveland Browns at 1:00 today. Here is a glimpse at the mano-y-mano match-ups, edges, and who these Browns are.
The Game & The Browns:
On paper the Miami Dolphins should enter week one the favorite to win their opening game. If they do win, it will be the first opening season win since they beat the Buffalo Bills to kick-off the 2010 season.
The Dolphins in 2010 opened on the road. Despite their win they finished the 2010 season with a 7-9 record.
The Dolphins have lost to the Browns four times in a row and hold a one game lead overall head to head with a 9-8 record. Their last victory over the Browns was back in 2004 when they won 10-7.
The last meeting between the two teams was in 2011 when the Dolphins played host. The Dolphins lost by one point.
WHO ARE THEY?
Head Coach – Rob Chudzinski - First year as a HC
GM – Michael Lombardi - Returns to the NFL after a stint with the media.
DID YOU KNOW? Executive Director of Special Initiatives for the Browns is former Miami Dolphin Executive Bryan Wiedmeier? Wiedmeier left the Dolphins shortly after Bill Parcells joined the Dolphins.
The Browns 2013 Draft
LSU DE – Barkevious Mingo – ruled out for today’s game
San Diego State defensive back Leon McFadden
Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter ,
East Central Oklahoma defensive end Armonty Bryant Chadron State offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey
The early season match-up will pit former Miami Dolphins slot receiver Davone Bess against his former team. Bess was traded in April during day 2 of the NFL Draft.
The Browns have not made the playoffs since 2002 and have not won a playoff game since 1994. Then led by Bill Belichick the Browns beat the Patriots in the WC game before losing in the divisional round to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Browns have three QB’s vying for the starting job. 2nd year QB Brandon Weeden, Jason Cambell, and Brian Hoyer. Brandon Weeden won the starting job.
RB Trent Richardson missed all of the OTA’s with an injury but was healthy for most of training camp and will play in the opener.
Ryan Tannehill vs. Brandon Weeden: Slight edge to Ryan Tannehill. Both QB’s enter their second pro season but the Dolphins QB is heading into his 2nd season within the same system. Weeden is entering his 2nd season in as many years.
TE’s: Edge – Cleveland. The Dolphins will be relying on inexperience. Michael Egnew and Dion Sims have zero NFL regular season play. Charles Clay is not a “true” TE but he will likely be a week 1 target often. The Browns will be using 3 year veteran Jordan Cameron who starting to look like an NFL TE.
WR’s: Edge – Miami. The Browns will face week 1 without their number 1 WR Josh Gordon. Suspended. Davone Bess may be the teams strongest possession WR. Miami has Mike Wallace and 1,000 yard wide-out Brian Hartline. Brandon Gibson should do well in the slot. Miami however lacks depth at the position. They will go with four to enter the season.
Oline -Edge – Browns. This will be the weakest unit for the Dolphins who will face a daunting pass rush from the Browns. Questions at LT and both guard positions have plagued the team this off-season. Conversely the Browns boast the best OT in the NFL with Joe Thomas. The teams weakest line spot is at the guard position.
RB’s – Edge – Browns. Trent Richardson enters his second season as a featured back while Lamar Miller will take over full-time in Miami after seeing limited action in his rookie year.
Dline – Edge – Push. The Dolphins are very deep and very strong along the defensive line but so are the Browns. Both teams are well anchored at the DE/LB position where pass rush should be on display today.
LB’s – Edge – Push. The Dolphins have a solid LB’ing core but the Browns do as well. The Browns added former Danelle Ellerbe teammate Paul Kruger this past off-season.
Secondary – Edge – Push. The Dolphins will not have Will Davis or Jamar Taylor available against the Browns and the Browns may not have starting corner Buster Skrine. In the deep secondary Reshad Jones give the Dolphins an edge and equals out the inexperience at the weaker CB slot manned by Dimitri Patterson.
DID YOU KNOW? Dimitri Patterson was claimed off waivers last season by Miami after he was waived by the Cleveland Browns?
With the Ball
Miami – The Dolphins may not be able to establish a run against a very formidable defensive front. The Dolphins lack the offensive line power to create gap holes. However when they do, Lamar Miller should be able to use his speed to hit the holes quickly. The Dolphins will need to find a balance on offense but it may be in their best interest to use the passing game to set up the run. Deep balls to Mike Wallace will keep the defense back and Miami could use the edge rushing tactics of the Browns to set up quick outside runs under the pass rush.
Cleveland – The Browns will try to set the run with a strong offensive line and the legs of Trent Richardson. Taking away the run will force the Browns to the air where they are much weaker. The Dolphins will try and use speed off the edges and force the Browns to throw quick.
Key Player for Miami – Dion Jordan is set to play and he can do a lot of damage by lining up in various positions disguising the Dolphins intentions on defense.
This is going to be a close game and it may look ugly at times. The Dolphins could come out and try to set the stage for the season. If they do, they win this game easily enough. If they come out and play conservatively on offense the Browns will wear them down and the game could end ugly for Miami.
Being that the game is in Cleveland, the final edge goes to their rowdy fans. Cleveland 23 – Miami 21.