BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – The Baltimore Ravens bookended Josh McCown’s shortened 2015 season.
McCown had one of his greatest games ever and saw his season come to an end in the 2 meetings against the Ravens a year ago.
The 37-year old now steps in and makes his return and 2016 debut against them.
McCown replaces Robert Griffin III, who sustained a broken bone in his left shoulder late in last weeks 29-10 loss at Philadelphia, where he’ll try and give Hue Jackson his first win as Browns head coach and do it on the same day that the franchise honors its alumni and unveils a statue in honor of its greatest player: Jim Brown.
Last October in Baltimore, McCown set the Browns’ single-game franchise record by throwing for 457 yards and 2 TDs in a 33-30 overtime victory but his season ended when he broke his collarbone in a 33-27 loss on Nov. 30 at home.
McCown will face a Ravens defense that is without linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who as 11.5 sacks in 10 career games against the Browns, but held Buffalo to 160 total yards in a 13-7 week 1 victory.
The Ravens own the Browns under John Harbaugh. They are 14-2 in the series and quarterback Joe Flacco is 13-2, 6-1 in Cleveland, overall having thrown for a touchdown in his last 8 games against the Browns. Despite Baltimore’s dominance in the series, the last 6 games have been decided by an average of 5.8 points.
Flacco said this week he doesn’t recognize the Browns’ defense which has 8 new starters from a year ago including rookie defensive end Carl Nassib. Nassib had an impressive rookie debut last week in Philadelphia that saw him record 3 tackles, his first career sack and he knocked down pass. The performance has earned him a starting job as he jumped Xavier Cooper on the depth chart.
Jackson believes Isaiah Crowell can and is a special back and plans to make a concerted effort to get Crowell the ball more this week after running it 12 times for 62 yards against the Eagles but 40 of those yards came on his last 3 carries when the game was essentially decided.
The return of McCown should also be a boost for Pro Bowl tight end Gary Barnidge, who was targeted just twice against the Eagles. Barnidge tore up the Ravens a year ago with 15 catches for 230 yards and TD.
The Last Time – Nov. 30, 2015: Ravens beat the Browns 33-27 on a blocked field goal return for a touchdown as time expired
All-Time Series – Ravens lead 25-9
Rankings – CBS Power Ranking: Browns No. 32, Ravens No. 15; AP PRO32: Browns No. 32, Ravens No. 13
Ravens offense – Overall (24), Rush (20), Pass (20).
Ravens defense – Overall (1), Rush (7), Pass (1).
Browns offense – Overall (28), Rush (10), Pass (28).
Browns defense — Overall (26), Rush (25), Pass (21).
Browns Probable Starters – OFFENSE: WR Corey Coleman, LT Joe Thomas, LG Joel Bitonio, C Cameron Erving, RG John Greco, RT Austin Pasztor, TE Gary Barnidge, WR Terrelle Pryor, QB Robert Griffin III, RB Isaiah Crowell, FB Malcolm Johnson
DEFENSE: DE Jamie Meder, NT Danny Shelton, DE Carl Nassib, OLB Emmanuel Ogbah, ILB Demario Davis, ILB Christian Kirksey, OLB Joe Schobert, CB Joe Haden, CB Jamar Taylor, FS Jordan Poyer, SS Ibraheim Campbell
Injury Report – EXPECTED TO PLAY: CB Marcus Burley (groin), S Derrick Kindred (ankle), WR Terrelle Pryor (shoulder), LG John Greco (back)
Uniform – White jersey, brown pants, orange socks
Broadcast – Radio: 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network; TV: WOIO-TV 19 (CBS)
Kickoff – 1 p.m. FirstEnergy Stadium; Cleveland, Ohio
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