Head coach: Gus Bradley (4-18 career record, now in his second season with Jacksonville)
Offensive ranking: 32
Defensive ranking: 30
Best player: Paul Posluszny. The linebacker is a game changer in the middle for Jacksonville. His 57 tackles are tied for fifth in the NFL. Last year the Pro Bowler piled up 162 tackles and he's on pace for more in 2014. Running backs rarely get by the 30-year-old and he's quick enough to guard Browns tight end Jordan Cameron in the open field, when necessary.
Rookie quarterback: Blake Bortles – 4 TDs and 7 INTs in three starts. The third overall pick from Central Florida seems to be improving each week on film. In back-to-back games against the Steelers and Titans, Bortles and the Jaguars offense has had the football in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie or win the game. Last week against Tennessee, he completed 32-for-46 passes, threw a career-high 336 yards,. Bortles refining his technique of not locking onto his receivers and seems to be only a few big plays away from breaking through and notching that 'W' for Jacksonville.
Future star: Wide receiver Allen Robinson is leading all AFC rookies in catches (30) and yards (311). The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder from Penn State can move well without the football and is quickly becoming Bortles' favorite target.
Other underrated players: Tight End Clay Harbor (14 catches, 183 yards, 1 TD) and safety Johnathan Cyprien (39 tackles)
Biggest asset: Sacks. The Jaguars have 19, tying them for second in the NFL. Andre Branch and Chris Clemmons aren't the biggest names, but the mammoth defensive ends each have three sacks on the season. The Jaguars front four is potent enough to cause pressure, even without additional blitzing linebackers.
Biggest problem: Running the football. Toby Gerhart is the Jags' leading rusher and his 48 carries for 123 yards – good for only 2.6 yards per clip. Rookie Storm Johnson started last week because of Gerhart's injured ankle, but ran the ball only 10 times for 21 yards. Bortles is actually nipping on Gerhart's heels as the top rusher on the team, (16 carries, 106 yards) and is a bigger threat with his legs than he appears. On paper, this bodes well for the Browns, who right now rank 30th in the league in stopping the run.
Other news and notes
- Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said there was "strong debate" inside the Jacksonville headquarters back in the spring, as to whether or not to draft Johnny Manziel. Bradley thinks Manziel will be a solid pro some say.
- Bradley also said the Browns' offense has been so good because of Kyle Shanahan's running philosophy. The Steelers had to sometimes stack the box with nine defenders last week. It makes the play action hard to stop. This teamed with Hoyer's decision making, said Bradley, has made the Browns offense one of the premier in the NFL.
- "Even though they don't have as many passes as some teams, that ability to have a play action off the run is really tough on a defense," said Bradley.
- When mentioning the Browns defense, Bradley noted Joe Haden and Karlos Dansby as Cleveland's best two defenders.