Cleveland Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson is a student of the game of football, and he certainly knows his history.
Jackson is well aware of the success Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has had against the Browns during his five seasons in the NFL, and expects the reigning Super Bowl champions to feature their diminutive, yet productive, rusher in Sunday’s game at M&T Bank Stadium.
“It’s no secret, so I’m pretty sure we’re going to see a heavy dose of run,” Jackson said of the 5-foot-8, 212-pound Rice. “He’s going to get his touches, whether it’s carries, screens or checkdowns, and that’s the way their offense goes.
“(Quarterback Joe) Flacco can be a touchdown-to-checkdown type of guy, and Ray is that versatile where if Flacco’s in trouble, he can dump it off to Ray. It was obvious last year against San Diego. He picked up a fourth-and-20 or whatever it was to win the game. We definitely have a ton of respect for Ray.”
In 10 games against the Browns, Rice has rushed for 922 yards and four touchdowns on 192 carries. He has been on the receiving end of 30 passes for 191 yards and one score. His 922 rushing yards, and the 204 he rushed for on Dec. 4, 2011, are career-highs against any opponent.
“Ray’s had a lot of success versus us in the past,” Jackson said. “He’s one of the top running backs in the league in my opinion, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. We’ve got different faces, different bodies, guys that move around, guys that help. We’ve definitely got a challenge ahead of us. It’s going to be a dog fight.”
Coach Rob Chudzinski added, “He’s a fantastic player. He does it all. He blocks. He can run the ball, as you know, and he’s an outstanding receiver. He’s a threat in a lot of different ways and a guy we have to know where he’s at, at all times.”
Jackson enters this game against the Ravens more confident when it comes to defending the run because of the Browns’ season-opening performance. Led by a new-look front seven, the Browns limited the Miami Dolphins to 20 yards on 23 carries.
“The confidence comes from the guys that I see up front,” Jackson said. “I’ve been in this game a while, and am able to tell if there’s talent in front of me or not. I know I’m only going to be as good as those guys up front. It starts with
“We definitely plan on stopping the run for 16 weeks. It wasn’t just for one week. It’s a great test for us.”