Aug 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Tori Gurley (9) makes a catch against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. The Cleveland Browns defeat the Chicago Bears 18-16. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Dolphins are only a few days away from starting the season against the Cleveland Browns. This week I spoke with the editor of FactoryofSadness.com, Jared Mueller and exchanged some questions about the game. You can read my answers to his questions here.
1: The Browns have been up and down with QB play, something Miami fans understand all too well, can Brandon Weeden take this team to the next level or is he holding a seat for another solution?
FOS: The Browns traded picks this year for higher picks next year in case they need ammunition to trade up in the draft. The new regime is not sold on Weeden but the new offense could be the perfect fit for him. They would then be in a interesting position having him perform well but wanting to bring in a young high round pick for their long term QB. Weeden, with his strong arm, could take this team to its next level, but that just means the playoffs. Its possible, with a greatly improved defense and continuing to build with young weapons around him, that he could possibly take the team farther. Decision making with a “muddled” pocket and getting his balls knocked down at the line of scrimmage were big issues last year and could limit his upside.
2: The two teams traded in April with Miami shipping WR Davone Bess to Cleveland. How has he impacted the Browns roster thus far and what are the expectations for him?|
FOS: Davone has been a great addition to the team. His route running, especially on 3rd downs and in the redzone has impressed. Bess has also started mentoring young receivers Josh Gordon and Greg Little both on skills as a wide receiver and in life in general. Bess fits a need the Browns didn’t have, a reliable middle of the field receiver that Weeden could feel comfortable with in big situations. While Bess may not have 70 or so catches this year, it is expected he have double digit 1st down receptions and at least 5-6 touchdowns.
3: The Browns recently signed a new kicker, Billy Cundiff. How much of an early impact do you think that will have on the team with only a few days to get in work?
FOS: Kickers are generally plug and play. Cundiff was in Cleveland before and is known from his time with the Ravens but with a new staff and administration many don’t have that experience with him. Because of his limited time with the team don’t expect many trick plays or anything fancy from that unit. Head Coach Rob Chudzinski is a risk taker and having a new kicker may mean he goes for more 4th downs instead of kicking a long field goal.
4: Rob Chudzinski is a “air-it-out” coach. Yet the WR’s for the Browns are far from national names Who will be the big targets for Weeden?
FOS: Josh Gordon will be the big target but he will be out for the Dolphins game. He had a stellar rookie season and should build on it when he returns. Greg Little is going into his 3rd season and is a strong fast wide receiver who has greatly improved his hands this off-season. Bess will be joined underneath by Weeden’s college receiver Josh Cooper. Chud’s, and Norv Turner’s, offenses have always focused on the tight ends, think Antonio Gates and Greg Olson, so Jordan Cameron, the college basketball player, could be a huge weapon this year for Weeden. Travis Benjamin is a small receiver but is more of a outside speed threat then a slot guy. His return skills have been electric.
5: The Browns made a fantastic signing in Paul Kruger during the off-season. How has his presence affected the players around him?
FOS: Kruger carries himself with an air that is different then many of the Browns players. Kruger, though never a full time starter, has the confidence in himself and his knowledge to move quickly both on the field and as a leader. Kruger has helped Jabaal Sheard transition to OLB and been a great mentor to rookie Barkevious Mingo. Based on some pre-season stats Kruger has been the best linebacker in football. While that is not expected to continue it does show that he may be worth the big contract he received. He should cause some problems for Jon Martin and Tyson Clabo in the upcoming game.