>>Use minimum pass-rushers to generate maximum pressure on Tom Brady. The Browns’ pass rush showed some signs of life last week against Jacksonville. It produced two sacks and there were some hits on Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne. But it wasn’t enough. Henne generally operated with too much comfort, especially in leading the 80-yard drive that resulted in the winning touchdown with 40 seconds left. Brady can obliterate a defense that pressures him well, let alone one that gives him the luxury of time to find open receivers. The Browns have to figure out a way to get to Brady with as few pass-rushers as possible, so that they have the maximum amount of defenders available in coverage. This would be a good time for outside linebackers
>>Find a way to contain Rob Gronkowski. You don’t stop this guy. At best, you try to contain him. Gronkowski can utilize his tremendous size, speed and athleticism to overwhelm any defender who tries to cover him one-on-one. That’s why most Patriot opponents assign multiple defenders to him, with two getting as physical as possible with him off the line of scrimmage similar to how a punt-coverage “gunner” is handled. It doesn’t generally work that well. Gronk feasts on physicality because he is so much bigger and stronger than everyone else. He often uses it to gain more separation, which leads to big plays.
>>Continue to make an honest effort to run the ball. The Browns’ running game was fairly solid against the Jaguars.
>>Be flawless on special teams. This should be standard operating procedure, regardless of the opponent. But it is particularly true against the strongest team on the Browns’ schedule. There is virtually no margin for error against the Patriots. And the Browns have to achieve perfection in all phases of their kicking game to have a prayer of being competitive in this game. No turnovers. No silly penalties.
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