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How the Browns can find success in the pass game against the Jaguars

The Jaguars are ranked 27th in pass defense but are fifth in interceptions

Pass game

This season, the Browns have faced uncertainty at the quarterback position. Four different quarterbacks have started for the Browns this season because of injuries. Entering Week 14, HC Kevin Stefanski has yet to announce who will start against the Jaguars on Sunday. However, no matter who will start, the Browns should find great success against a struggling Jaguars pass rush.

"We have to make plays regardless of what defense we are going against," WR Cedric Tillman said. "We've definitely been studying film on them (Jaguars). We feel like we can do some damage for sure."

The Jaguars pass defense is ranked 27th in the league, as they have given up 3,310 passing yards and are ranked 25th in passing touchdowns with 19. No matter which level of quarterback they have faced this season, they've made them look good.

For example, in Week 11, they played another rookie quarterback in Will Levis for the Titans. Levis' QBR of 15.4 was adversely affected by two sacks. Despite the low QBR, Levis completed 76.5 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and no interceptions. He finished with a 143.8 passer rating, the best in his career.

In Week 12, when the Jaguars faced the Texans and rookie QB C.J. Stroud, the Jaguars allowed him to complete 72.2 percent of his passes – which is his second-highest completion percentage this season. Stroud finished with a QBR of 76.5. Earlier in the year Stroud had an even better game against the Jaguars. In Week 3 he finished with an 85.5 QBR which is his highest this season.

And in Week 13 against the Bengals rookie QB Jake Browning had his best game this season against the Jaguars. He completed 86.5 percent of his passes and threw for 354 yards. Before the Bengals' matchup against the Jaguars, Browning had two starts with QBRs of 45.9 and 22.3. However, in Jacksonville, Browning finished the game with an 84.0 QBR.

In three straight weeks, the Jaguars faced rookie quarterbacks and couldn't prevent them from executing their game plan. The Browns should be confident that similar performances will come from either rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson or veteran QB Joe Flacco.

"The scheme, regardless of which quarterback, always been the same," WR David Bell said. "I feel like, as receivers, we have been doing our job a lot better as far as getting open. Us doing our job, we will have success with any quarterback."

This opportunity to play against a pass defense like the Jaguars couldn't come at a better time for the Browns, who lost consecutive games. In those two losses, the Browns were more pass-heavy, which they hadn't been in the past.

Against the Rams in Week 13, the Browns threw the ball 44 times versus 23 rushing attempts. In that game, Flacco connected with nine different pass catchers for 254 yards.

"Joe is a veteran, so just having him, I feel like he really understands defenses," Tillman said. "Not saying the other guys don't understand, but it's a little different with him, and he was able to spread the ball out more."

One kryptonite the Browns have that the Jaguars will undoubtedly take advantage of is interceptions. Even though the Jaguars give up passing yards and touchdowns, they intercept a number of passes. They have 12 interceptions this season, which is tied for fifth place in the league. This can cause a problem for the Browns, who rank 29th in the NFL with 14 interceptions. If the Browns don't make mistakes, they could excel in the passing game.

There is also some uncertainty in their receiving corps, as WR Amari Cooper continues through the concussion protocol. However, they will need their available pass catchers to be active in Sunday's game.

"Everybody's going to have to step up," OC Alex Van Pelt said. "David Bell is going to have to step up and make plays. He does every week. He's Mr. Consistent. You ask Dave to do a job, he does it and he catches the ball. You feel really good about him taking some of those reps. Elijah will play more in that position at times and then Ced (Tillman) continues to grow and come on. So those are the three main targets."

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