By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
Here are five keys for the Browns in Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens:
>>Run, run, run and run some more. Trent Richardson demonstrated last week that he is ready to literally carry the offense on his back. He doesn’t necessarily need to do that, because the Browns do have the ability to make plays through the air. But it makes perfect sense for the Browns to try and exploit the Ravens’ struggling front seven; they’re allowing an average of 142.9 yards per game on the ground.
>>Be effective, but efficient, through the air. Brandon Weeden didn’t do a whole lot against the Chargers in the rain, wind, and cold last Sunday. The conditions should be more favorable for passing in this game, and Pat Shurmur no doubt will have Weeden take his share of downfield shots. But just as important as making big plays when they’re available is avoiding big mistakes.
>>Prevent Ray Rice from dominating. Rice is capable of massive production as a runner and a receiver. The Ravens undoubtedly will test the Browns on the ground early and often to set up their passing game. As usual, Rice will get his yards because he is always a prominent part of their game plan. The Browns just can’t let him get too many big chunks.
>>Continue be aggressive rushing the quarterback. The Browns might not have the NFL’s best pass rush, but they can be aggressive with it. Look for defensive coordinator Dick Jauron to put together a coverage plan, as he did against the Chargers, that will attempt to confuse Joe Flacco, causing him to think he is seeing one coverage when the Browns are actually employing another. Any hesitation by Flacco will enhance the Browns’ chances of getting him on the ground or hurrying him into bad throws.
>>Maintain tight pass coverage. For the most part, the Browns prevented the Chargers from making big plays through the air. Granted, the lousy weather did its share to prevent Philip Rivers and his receivers from doing a whole lot of damage. But Joe Haden, Sheldon Brown, and Buster Skrine did a nice job of blanketing the Chargers’ receivers. It will take at least that type of effort against the dangerous foursome of Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Jacoby Jones, and tight end Dennis Pitta.
>>Carucci’s Corner is presented by Panera Bread.
>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.
>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/browns_daily, Twitter.com/viccarucci, e-mail: Daily@ClevelandBrowns.com, or by calling 855-363-2459.
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