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Dawg Pound Journal: 6 strong opinions about the Cleveland Browns


1)      I wonder … what needs to happen to get the Browns outside linebackers going? Paul Kruger has been admirably playing through a back injury, which he took an epidural for prior to the Steelers game on October 12th. Barkevious Mingo is getting close to quarterbacks and forcing them to throw the ball out earlier. Jabaal Sheard throttled Blake Bortles and forced an interception to Tashaun Gipson. But still, Kruger, Sheard and Mingo have a combined four sacks, while inside linebackers Karlos Dansby and Chris Kirksey have a total of five. The Browns need improved play from their outside linebackers.

2)      I wonder … if K'Waun Williams is deemed fully healthy (concussion) whether he slides right back into the nickel cornerback role. Against the Jaguars, the Browns arguably had their best game as a secondary. In three wide receiver situations, Buster Skrine slid over to the slot, while Justin Gilbert played nearly flawless defense on the outside. The Browns want to keep giving Gilbert adequate reps to develop his skills and confidence, but also need to think the same way with Williams – a hidden gem who definitely should've been drafted.

3)      I wonder … if it might be a positive thing for Brian Hoyer if Johnny Manziel takes a few reps against the Raiders. The last time Manziel took consecutive snaps under center, in Week 2 against the Saints, Hoyer responded wrathfully with his arm. After two unsuccessful plays, Hoyer ran back onto the field facing a third-and-13 situation in the third quarter, delivering a clutch throw to Gary Barnidge and the drive eventually morphed into a touchdown. I'm not suggesting Hoyer's gotten comfortable, but seasoning Manziel a little might also fire up Hoyer.

4)      I wonder … if the Raiders took serious notice of Tashaun Gipson this week during film study. No player in the NFL has more interceptions than Gipson's four this season. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been given the green-light to launch passes deep down the field, but he better be careful if he throws it near number 39.

5)      I wonder … what the Browns' coaching staff decided on how to use the three running back rotation. There is no such thing as an easy solution. It's Week 8 and Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West are still all averaging more than 4.0 yards per carry. Tate will likely remain the starter, but to me, the back who does need serious consideration to get more carries is Crowell. His career-high thus far is only 11 and he's flourished using that small amount. West is too talented to ignore, so I'll bring this up as I often too on Cleveland Browns Daily on ESPN 850: get West involved as a receiver. Look around the league at all the young, athletic backs being used as receivers – Le'Veon Bell, Andre Ellington, Giovani Bernard. It would be advantageous of the Browns to be creative with West – and maybe even use him sparsely in the same formation with Tate and Crowell.

6)      I wonder … how defenses are playing Jordan Cameron differently in 2014. The Browns Pro Bowl tight end was targeted six times against Jacksonville but only walked away with one reception. Now, of course, some of those fall on some throws from Hoyer, and last season Josh Gordon drew double-teams to free up Cameron, but it's clear NFL defenses main focus in stopping Cleveland's passing game is to take away number 84. In training camp, we saw Cameron line up receiver in certain situations. I wonder if moving him around in different spots could help get him going.

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