Browns/Ravens preview.

Chris-Canty-1

Oniel Cousins matches up today with Chris Canty… a member of the Ravens’ depleted defense.

I doubt I’ll be in the business of previewing games but in this case, it seems like a lot of points are being missed.  Since it’s not fun or fair to point these out after the game here are the factors the will lead to an easy Ravens -7 cover.  (And super easy current Ravens -6.5.)

1.  Chris Canty versus ONeill Cousins.  
It’s amazing what you can do when you can sign 30 year olds, when you don’t have to save salary for some unknown reason and when you don’t paint yourself into a corner with rigid get younger edicts.  The Ravens spent $2.8M in guaranteed money for a guy good enough to start 16 games for a SB winner two years ago.  He’s 30.  He’ll be occupying ONiel Cousins as a 34 DE.  Canty got a +2.3 rating from PFF last week; Cousins .  And this likely leaves Mitchell Schwartz without help against Terrell Suggs.  Does any of this sound familiar?  (PS, Oniel Cousins is 29.  IRONY!)

Click for full size viewing of the hole Ozzie dug himself. Consider that he drafed Matt Elam (for Reed) and Arthur Brown (for Ellerbe) and, hate to say it, but he actually did pretty well filling the holes.

Sidebar notes re:  Ravens’ defense
1a.  Ravens defense depleted myth.
Ravens lost a lot of players on defense.  Yes I know this, see graphic at right.  It was created for my written-not-published “Ozzie Newsome, not a genius” piece.  Why didn’t I publish it?  Why didn’t I share the time and toil that included making funny Wile E. Coyote graphics?  It’s that part with the green boxes where Ozzie pulled two studs and a decent piece part out of his ass to patch holes in his defense.
Do recall that the Ravens were in cap hell after their Super Bowl win.  Hard to kill them for that because, well, Super Bowl win.  This is why Boldin is gone.  Repeat:  the salary cap hell precipitated by winning the Super Bowl and thus needing to overpay to sign now Super Bowl Winning Joe Flacco created a problem.  In March, I thought it would be hell for them now I don’t think so.

1b.  Kruger was the most expendable of all the Ravens’ FA losses.
We all know we were bidding against ourselves for Kruger right?  I know Banner was at risk of breaking his arm patting himself on the back for this signing, but Kruger –he of six starts in his career– was backed up by the Ravens’ top pick in 2012, Courtney Upshaw.  He was never part of the plan for the Ravens.

2.  Ravens have a fullback.
Much has been made of the Browns’ front seven and yes it’s pretty to look at.  But the Ravens have multiyear all-pro Vonta Leach back and he’s playing the dinosaur fullback position.

Lol, don’t the Ravens know that position is obsolete?  Lol, Maroons!

Well I guess we’ll see if Ozzie and Jim Harbaugh know what they’re doing by keeping that position funded.  You know because it’s like they didn’t just win a Super Bowl.  But in considering fullbacks, they don’t win three all-pros for ‘rush yards gained.’  Fullbacks win all-pros for blocking, either lead blocking for the feature back or picking up blitzes and protecting their QB.  Oh wait a sec,,, doesn’t the Browns’ DC have a thing about attacking, blitzing  aggressive, something something?  Yes, I’m sure a read a report about the Browns front seven and blitzing.  But haven’t read too much about how having the best blocking fullback in the NFL might blunt that attack.  A rare miss by Cleveland sports media.

3.  Josh Gordon is Weeden’s Welker.
To the extent Weeden trusts any receiver or has a go-to option he relies on, it’s Josh Gordon.  Look for the Browns’ offense to magically look better next week.  Discount commentary about the Browns finding a rhythm or something.  Josh Gordon makes a huge difference in the Browns offense.  Huge.  It won’t be apparent until week four though.

wagner

Wagner is 55. Here he is three seasons ago moving a TCU lineman about five yards out of Montee Ball’s path.
Not that the Browns could use a Wisconsin offensive lineman this year or anything.
Nahhh… much better off with next year’s fourth round pick from who knows who.
Thanks Joe Banner.

4.  Michael Oher injured.
Welp, first off, looks like Oher will be starting so you can scratch.  But even if he sat, the Ravens are set.  This is because the Ravens used their late fifth round pick this year to draft Wisconsin stud o-lineman and Kanick sleeper Ricky Wagner.  The same guy I loved so much that photographed my TV and I put a ‘DO WANT’ bulletin out for him after the 2011 Rose Bowl vs. TCU.  While Banner may scoff at such shenanigans as using late fifth round picks on players, let alone Wisconsin o-linemen, so GMs walk their own path, courageously.

5.  Home openers are big deals.
Well for every where else but Cleveland.  I’m having a rough go with Cheddar and I can think of several cases where I failed to consider how fired up a team gets with their home opener.  Washington over Boise; Army played way over their heads versus Stanford; even freaking Idaho got 35 point in their Kibbie Dome kickoff… the Vandals haven’t scored more than 35 points (non OT game) since 2009.  Since 2000, the Ravens are 11-2 in their home openers.  They’re raising their SB Champs banner.  They get to do in front of the Browns; they get to jam it up all our Modell-hating you-know-whats.

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I could go on but it’s 11:30 so that’ll do.  You know very well I’m at the Riverside Lounge in Amesbury MA if anyone wants to take issue or join me for a hearty Bud Light.

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  • etc

    Kanick! All that cap space is starting to make sense. They will cut Weeden eventually and have to take a hit on his contract. It’s apparently a 4 year, $8 million contract, so 2-4 million will be lost next year.

    Signing Cutler won’t use up the rest of the space, is there anyone else they’d toss? D’Quell Jackson? Joe Thomas?

    • jpftribe

      Is Matt Ryan UFA next year?

      • he was scheduled to be but the falcons re-signed him. (6yrs/117m.)

        • jpftribe

          Thanks, great lesson here. Google is your friend And never click on the bleacher report link.

    • We need him to play just badly enough for the Bears not to franchise him.

  • Petefranklin

    I knew the Peedee was bad but there’s still no verification of Weedens sprained thumb @ 12;30 am EST. I hadn’t been there (PD)for a while and its reasons like this that I have stayed away. ESPN reported on its ticker three hours ago that he was out.

  • clevelandfrowns

    Well that was a Browns game.

    • clevelandfrowns

      I was right about the Ravens not being good, at least.

      • jpftribe

        Pittsburgh is horrible. Dalton is the Weeden Antichrist, great reads can’t throw.

  • clevelandfrowns

    Today’s game marks the first time I’ve picked the Browns to cover the spread since the 2010 season. As noted in the Cheddar Bay thread, I think the Ravens will miss Ray Lewis and Ed Reed a lot more than folks are accounting for early, and the Browns are talented enough to keep this close despite obvious flaws. First game in M&T without Ray on the Baltimore roster should be significant in a way that will be good for the Browns here.

    • Petefranklin

      TA had it right in his writeup about the sharps being on the clowns. The line got down to six at LVH before the public drove it back up to seven. I cant figure out what the sharps saw in the clowns but it just goes to show how woeful this team really is. I am going to be really pissed when they beat Jacksonville to lock up the second best QB in the draft as only Cleveland could do so well.

      • jpftribe

        It will be worse than that. With Campbell starting and Gordon coming back they are a lock to win 5 or 6 and take themselves out of it altogether.

        • Petefranklin

          I think if they lose at home to the Bills, they might be able to run the table with Hoyer. Hopefully Cincy won’t give us one like usual.