Most every football fan in American would like their favorite team to be a squad that puts on an aerial circus each and every week.
It’s an exciting and sexy way to play the game.
However, if the Cleveland Browns try to play this way in the 2014 season, it will be a long, long year for coach Mike Pettine and the fans of the brown and orange.
They simply don’t have the personnel to win in that matter.
Part of being a solid coach is knowing what kind of personnel you have and putting together game plans that utilize the talent at hand to win football games. And until we see otherwise, we have to believe Pettine knows what he is doing.
So, here’s hoping fans aren’t expecting an air show every Sunday afternoon from the Cleveland Browns.
We understand that there are a great many fans that want to see Johnny Manziel at quarterback so they are seeing footballs flying around the stadium, but Pettine is more interested in winning games, and if he does that, the fans will be entertained.
Time and again, Pettine has said the Browns want to follow the “Seattle model”, which is based on a strong running game and a very good defense. So, how do you think the Browns will play starting this Sunday?
A tried and true way to win football games having the ability to run the football and also be able to stop the run. When you think about it, this makes total sense.
If you can run the football, you make the defensive unit have to respect both the ground game and the passing game. Too often since the Browns returned in 1999, they haven’t been able to gain yardage running, and that puts the quarterback at a terrible disadvantage. It’s a lot tougher to play when you are consistently in 2nd and 9, and 3rd and 7 situations.
With Ben Tate and Terrence West, if the offense can get four or five yards on first down, it will make Brian Hoyer’s job much, much easier.
On defense, the Browns spent the last two pre-season games playing a lot of zone defense, but that will change in Heinz Field on Sunday. With Joe Haden and Buster Skrine back on the field, and rookie Justin Gilbert playing as well, the defense will play much more press coverage.
And if they are successful at stopping the Steeler running game with an improved front seven, it will make the Pittsburgh offense one-dimensional, and to be sure, Pettine will be dialing up a variety of blitzes to make Ben Roethlisburger very uncomfortable in the pocket.
Really, it’s the way football was played in the 70’s and 80’s, before every rule to help the passing game was put in place.
This style of play will ideally shorten games thus hiding the lack of talent Cleveland has in certain areas.
Pettine doesn’t strike me as a coach who is interested in being flashy and exciting, he wants to win, and if the best way to do that is to dominate on the ground, then that’s how they will play.
And after watching 15 years of futility, putting numbers in the win column should be fine with Browns’ fans everywhere.