The unstoppable force of terrible meets the immovable object of bad in Washington this weekend with the defeated Browns looking for a win against the one-win Redskins.
With a collective record of 1-5, this weekend’s game offers the Browns another opportunity to nab Hue Jackson his first win in Cleveland. Despite Washington coming off their first win of the season, this game still appears winnable for the Browns.
1) Second Take Sunday For # 5- Cody Kessler’s NFL debut surpassed all of my basic expectations for the 2016 3rd round pick. He was arguably as good, if not better, then fellow draft mates Dak Prescott and Jacoby Brissett.
Week 2 should be an early indicator of how quickly Kessler might develop. In Prescott’s second career start, he improved his completion percentage and continued to take care of the ball though it took 3 weeks for him to throw a touchdown.
Kessler’s accuracy is already over 63 % but his next step might include making more down the field passes while maintaining those numbers. At some point, a few trips to the end zone at his hand will be necessary too.
Passes like this, even ones that are the result of miscommunication, will not be as acceptable in week 2 with more reps under his belt.
2) Cousins Shaky Early- Kirk Cousins was a big name of interest over the off-season after being hit with the Franchise tag & a one year, $20 million payday. Thus far, he’s fallen short of his paycheck. Cousins holds a pedestrian 3-3 td-int ratio despite putting up a 320-yards per game average.
The main issue with the Redskins appear to be based in red zone struggles. Jay Gruden’s bunch ranks 31st in the NFL in red zone scoring percentage which puts them ahead of only Houston through 3 weeks.
One Positive for the Redskins, Cleveland is 24th in opponent red zone scoring percentage. The Dolphins were a perfect 100% in the red zone against the Browns in week 3.
3) Advantage Browns? – The Browns defense has surpassed what limited expectations there might have been coming into the season. Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton’s unit is ranked 19th in rushing defense and 24th in passing defense despite consistently being behind the 8-ball in time of possession.
Stats tell an interesting story about the Browns defense. They are tied for 28th in the NFL with just 3 sacks on the season yet have been credited for 23 quarterback hits, good for 3rd best in the NFL. So they are getting to the quarterback, just not bringing them down.
Is the scheme allowing them to get an abundance of hits in absence of talent?
Is the Browns defense due for a breakout game from a sack standpoint?
One factor that might help the Browns this weekend is the state of Washington’s offensive line. They will be without starters Kory Lichtensteiger and former Brown Shawn Lauvao. Washington will start 2 young, inexperienced players in their place in Spencer Long and Arie Kouandijo.
Just in case anyone needed a reminder that Lauvao is a pretty good ex-Brown, there you go.
As always, you can catch more observations like this on the Nick Wilson Experiment which airs every weeknight from 7-12 pm.