The Browns defense is locked in as they return home after two lackluster performances on the road. In the last two games, the defense has recorded one sack and forced one turnover. After recording one tackle for loss against the Rams, the defense is ready to show out against the Jaguars at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday.
The Jaguars offense has not named their starting quarterback after Trevor Lawrence suffered a high ankle sprain Monday against the Bengals. He returned to practice Thursday in limited capacity. His backup QB C.J. Beathard was limited in practice Thursday because of an injury to his left non-throwing shoulder.
"Maybe Trevor Lawrence plays and he's himself, he has his full mobility; maybe he plays, and he doesn't have his mobility; and then maybe he doesn't play at all and Bethard plays," DC Jim Schwartz said. "So, I think that our game plan is probably about 25 percent bigger this week. And it's not actually going to be 25 percent bigger within the game, it's going to be 25 percent bigger to be able to handle all the different things that have come up."
The Jaguars offense has been fairly good this season. They have thrown 3,093 pass yards, which is 11th in the league. They complete 68.5 percent of their throws, which is fifth in the league, and average 7.4 yards per catch, seventh in the NFL.
They have weapons across the field in TE Evan Engram, WR Calvin Ridley and WR Zay Jones. Engram scored his first touchdown in Week 13 and has played the best football of his career, as he has 73 catches for 606 yards this season.
Check out photos of the team working to prepare for the Jacksonville Jaguars
Ridley is their best receiver, with 51 catches, 689 yards and five touchdowns. Ridley is quick and has great acceleration after he catches the ball. He averages 13.5 yards per catch.
"They have an explosive offense with a lot of weapons," S Grant Delpit said. "They like to get Evan Ingram involved a lot, which is good news for me since I'll have some action. They spread the ball around. Zay Jones is a good hand receiver. Calvin Ridley is a crazy route runner who draws a lot of penalties."
The Browns will also have to watch out for RB Travis Etienne Jr., who has 771 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns this year. He is currently sixth among running backs in rushing yards and seventh in rushing touchdowns.
"We have to be dominant up front and stop Etienne," DT Dalvin Tomlinson said. "We have to focus on the small things, so we don't make mistakes we made in the last couple of weeks."
Sunday's game will feature two coaches who won their first Super Bowl together. Schwartz and HC Doug Pederson won a Super Bowl together in 2017 with the Eagles. Pederson was the head coach who called the shots on offense, and Schwartz was the defensive coordinator who ran the defense.
The two coaches know each other well and hold mutual respect. However, they will compete on Sunday and can use that experience of their time coaching together.
"Just knowing him and how he coached, and how he coached our defenses in Philly, you kind of know the structure a little bit," Pederson told reporters Thursday. "He's changed some things schematically over his time, but he's got a talented defense right now, and they're playing really good."