Get ready for a lot of football over the next couple of weeks.
The Browns have three games in a 15-day stretch starting Sunday against the Cardinals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Needless to say, it's a pivotal time for the Browns as they look to bounce back from their 2-5 start.
Let's get to this week's questions.
How does the coaching staff plan to create takeaways and stop the explosive Cardinal offense? -- Shannon S., Niles
For starters, you're right about that Cardinals offense. No team in the NFL has outscored their opponents more than Arizona, which has an average margin of victory of 22 in its five wins. Its Monday night win over Baltimore was its first of the year by single digits. The Cardinals have dramatically improved their standing as a rushing offense, going from 31st to fourth, and have plenty of weapons in the passing game, led by a healthy Carson Palmer. The Cardinals are tied for ninth in the NFL with a 3 turnover ratio. The Browns, after fumbling four times and forcing just one against the Rams, are tied for 28th with a minus-6 ratio.
So, how does a defense that feasted on turnovers last season start forcing more this season? The answers are multiple.
"Turnovers come in bunches," defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil said recently. "We have to make some plays. We have to put our guys in position to make some more plays by affecting the quarterback and when the quarterback does throw us one we have to make sure we catch it. We've had some opportunities to pick a few balls off and we've ended up with some PBUs or the wide receiver does a nice job getting a hand in there. We're not coaching it any different. The scheme is not that much different."
Three of Cleveland's four interceptions this season came against Denver. All three were made by linebackers who dropped back into coverage on short passes across the middle. When the Browns generated their best pass rush of the season against Tennessee, they came away with three fumble recoveries.
The potential return of Tashaun Gipson (six interceptions last season) and Joe Haden (three) certainly improves the Browns' chances of improving their interception total. Improving the pass rush is vital toward increasing the chances of both a quarterback throwing an intercept-able pass or fumbling because of a hard hit.
Turnovers are essentially the byproduct of a defense performing at a high level mixed with random chance. Donte Whitner made a great play Sunday to force St. Louis tight end Jared Cook to fumble. The Browns recovered the ball and stopped the Rams drive because the ball bounced conveniently in the direction of Jordan Poyer and no other St. Louis players.
The Browns would love a few of these against an Arizona offense that's been held below 22 points just once this season.
Browns players Johnson Bademosi, Desmond Bryant, John Hughes, Craig Robertson, Danny Shelton and Joe Thomas visited pediatric patients on Tuesday for a surprise Halloween party as part of the Browns First and Ten program.
What are the chances that we see Ifo Ekpre-Olomu this year. I'm excited about this CB!!! -- Brian P., Sharpsville, Pa.
Ekpre-Olomu is one of three players currently listed on the reserve - non-football injury list and has yet to practice. Upon returning to practice, he must be activated within three weeks or he will remain on the reserve list, which means he's out for the season.
When the Browns drafted Ekpre-Olomu in the seventh round, he was considered an "investment" because of a serious knee injury he suffered about as late as you possibly can during a college season. At this point, it'd be a surprise to see him utilized on the field this season. Think 2016 and beyond.
Why do the Browns appear to avoid Crowell as much as they do? He has shown his ability to make plays and flashes talent with both agility and power. His two touchdowns this season were great effort plays. It seems he struggles with consistency but more repetitions will help him learn. Duke Johnson is a good change of pace and pass catching back, but I think Crowell could handle 20-25 touches a game and be the most effective back on the Browns roster. -- Michael S., Delphi, Indiana
Sunday marked the first time Crowell carried the ball fewer than 10 times in a single game. That largely had to do with the hard hit he took to his ribs during the first quarter and also because the Browns passed more in the wake of an early deficit. The Browns have been playing from behind a lot in recent weeks, and that's limited the ability to ground and pound as much as they may have envisioned at the start of the season. With Robert Turbin now in the mix, Cleveland will base its running strategy around matchups and who has the hot hand. Johnson has carved out a niche as a dangerous pass-catcher and has seen the most snaps of any of the running backs this season.
Will we see Glenn Winston?-- Harvey C., Cleveland
That's to be determined. Winston was back at practice starting last week. The Browns have two more weeks to decide whether he can return and contribute on the active roster or be placed on the season-ending injured reserve.
Winston was active for six games last year but did not have any touches.
Realistically, can we trade anyone which will A. Net us some future talent and B. Give someone a chance to show what they have? -- Jason R., Youngstown
Though there were some unusually significant trades pulled off during the offseason, the NFL traditionally does not have the same sort of activity, both in quantity and magnitude, as the NBA and MLB generate on an annual basis. According to ESPN's John Clayton, the NFL saw 50 trades last season and only half involved players. The biggest came between the Rams and Buccaneers, as Tampa Bay shipped former first-round pick Mark Barron for a fourth- and sixth-round pick.