Time: 4:05 pm, Sunday, October 27, 2008
Location: Jacksonville Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
Network, Announcers: CBS- Dick Enberg and Randy Cross
Line: Jaguars by 7
Team W/L Records: Cleveland is 2-4; the Jaguars are 3-3
Coaches: Romeo Crennel is 22-32 in his fourth season with the Browns; Jack Del Rio is 48-38 in his sixth season with the Jaguars
Last Week for the Browns: Went right back to their maddeningly inconsistent, atrociously quarterbacked selves in a galling 14-11 loss to the Redskins.
Last Week for the Jaguars: On the bye.
All-Time Series: Jaguars lead, 8-2.
Last Meeting: December 4, 2005- Jacksonville rallied from a 14-3 halftime deficit to defeat the Browns 20-14 at CBS. Braylon Edwards, who scored both Cleveland touchdowns, injured his right knee in the fourth quarter of this game and missed the remainder of the 2005 season.
Out or Questionable for Jacksonville: Wide receiver Mike Walker (knee) is out. Wide receiver Matt Jones has been suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, but is appealing, and should suit up on Sunday.
Out or Questionable for Cleveland: Defensive tackle Shaun Smith (hand) is out; linebacker Shaunte Orr (foot) and guard Ryan Tucker (knee) are doubtful; safety Mike Adams (hamstring) and defensive end Corey Williams (shoulder) are questionable. And of course, tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. has been suspended for Sunday's game.
What to watch for the Jaguars: Same old story. The Browns are 26th in the NFL against the run, so look for Jacksonville to try and wear them out on the ground. There, done, let's move on.
What to watch for the Browns: Ladies and germs, Derek Anderson's numbers in three games away from Cleveland Browns Stadium this season: 43 of 98 (43.8%) for 399 yards, three touchdowns, four interceptions, 4.07 yards per attempt, and a passer rating of 48.8. Cleveland's longest pass play on the road this season has been for twenty yards- twice. "Bad" doesn't even come close to describing it.
I'm of the opinion that the Browns are talented enough to win more than they lose- or at least as much as they lose- with average quarterback play. Hell, they're sixth in the league in scoring defense and have a positive turnover margin, both of which usually lend themselves to winning. But there might not be a team in the league that can survive this kind of play from the quarterback position. Derek Anderson might as well be a double-agent, as thoroughly as he's destroyed his team's chances of winning, especially on the road.
So it comes down to this: if DA can find it within himself to be even so-so this Sunday, the Browns are plenty good enough to have a chance at beating a Jacksonville team that has looked extremely average so far. But they can't survive if he keeps putting up these kinds of numbers. Frankly, I'm not optimistic.
A note on K2: look, I like Kellen Winslow as a player. I like his intensity, like his hunger, like his talent. I've enjoyed watching him play more than probably any other Brown since the Return. I'd like to see him in Brown & Orange for the duration of his career. I have no problem with him seeking a new contract and maximizing his value for the short duration of his career. And for all I know, he has a fully legit beef against the management of this team.
But he ripped his boss in a public forum. And in doing so, he put the organization in a position where it had to sanction him. Had no choice. Suspending him, and not just fining him, might seem to be cutting off one's nose to spite the face. But there's no better message to send to a player who, regardless of the justness of his cause, put himself ahead of his team. The Cleveland Browns were around long before Kellen Winslow arrived; they'll be around long after he's gone. Life goes on without him. That's the message, that's the bottom line.
And in this case, Kellen's talent and skill are irrelevant. You're not above the team, no matter how good you are. The straight-A student has no more of a right to tell his teacher to go **** herself in front of the class than does the burnout in the back row. Like I said, I like Kellen as a player, and he seems to be a decent enough fellow off the field, a hard worker who is devoted to his wife and his profession. But there are consequences to pulling rank.
I just hate like hell that this is happening.
Good Past Win over the Jaguars: September 30, 2001- The Browns jumped out to a 13-0 halftime lead and, after Jacksonville had rallied with two third-quarter touchdowns to go out in front 14-13, Phil Dawson's 30-yard field goal and Daylon McCutcheon's 32-yard pick-six gave the Browns a 23-14 victory and sent them to 2-1 in Butch Davis's inaugural season. Rookie Gerard Warren set the tone for the physical victory by KO'ing Mark Brunell on an admittedly cheap shot early in the first quarter.
Bad Past Loss to the Jaguars: December 3, 2000- Spurgeon Wynn's first NFL start was, to put it nicely, a fiasco. The Browns gained an unbelievable 53 total yards, including a net of -9 through the air, and picked up a grand total of two first downs in a 48-0 loss. Jacksonville ran 80 offensive plays in the game to Cleveland's 36. This might be the most one-sided loss for the Browns since the Return- and that's saying something.
Next Week for Both Teams: Cleveland hosts the Ravens; the Jaguars go to Cincinnati.
Trivia: The Jags franchise is 1-0 all-time at old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, having won there 23-15 in 1995.