Before tonight’s game against the Cleveland Browns, Ramblin’ Fan got together with Dawg Pound Daily editor Jared Mueller. We wanted to ask a few quick questions to give us Rams fans a better idea about the opponenent tonight, here is our opposition inquiry.
1. The Browns officially named Bryan Hoyer the starter this week, what were your thoughts about that decision and do you think that Hoyer could be the starter for the entire year?
I thought it was the right move for the Browns. Hoyer understands the NFL while Johnny Manziel has struggled in adjusting from college. Hoyer didn’t do great under the pressure of the QB competition but should relax now that he has won. Hoyer could definitely start for the entire season. I think the Browns brass have some concerns about Manziel, both on and off the field, and won’t just yank Hoyer for a bad game. Coach Mike Pettine has stated previously that the team’s record wouldn’t decide who starts but the player’s production will. Hoyer can produce and the Browns still struggle.
2. One of the most talked about players this offseason has been Johnny Manziel, what has been your impression of him up to this point and what are your expectations for him this season?
He has a unique skill set that could be developed into something special. He moves around well, keeps his eyes down the field and is a fiery competitor. He is passionate about everything he does including football. He is an ALL IN kind of guy; whether partying or playing. He has been somewhat defiant about how he spends his off-seasons, which creates some concerns. I expect him, if he plays, to show flashes that get fans excited but struggle with progressions, reads and timing.
3. As this is the third game of the preseason, how much of the Browns first team could we see? Who are some maybe lesser known players that Rams fans should keep an eye on?
Expect to see most of the Browns first team for a half, and many for about 3 quarters. Pettine thinks it is very important to get a ton of time for the starters. The Browns have a ton of lesser known receivers that are intriguing. Charles Johnson is a bigger guy the Browns snatched away from the Packers last year. Taylor Gabriel and Willie Snead are smaller quick guys that could also turn some heads.
4. What position battles have really stood out during camp and of those, which ones will be decided in the preseason. Who do you see pulling ahead in those battles.
The Browns had 3 real position battles and all of them have been answered already. Obviously Hoyer at QB but the RG and 2nd corner spot were up in the air. John Greco, the former Ram, locked down the starting RG spot over Garrett Gilkey, a young mauler of a lineman. The 2nd corner spot is much more interesting. Holdover Buster Skrine, who doesn’t fit Pettine’s love of bigger corners, had one of the best camps of all the Browns. A thumb injury has him sidelined now giving rookie Justin Gilbert the spot. Skrine, Gilbert and all stud Joe Haden will play together often in the wide open NFL though.
5.The Rams play in arguable the most difficult division in football, but Browns play in a difficult division as well that includes the Ravens, Bengals, and Steelers. Where do you see the Browns finishing in the AFC North this season and overall?
From the outside looking in the AFC North is still tough. Yet the Ravens and Steelers are aging quickly and could fall off the cliff soon. Both teams ended last year at 8-8 and could continue their downward trend. The Browns, if everything falls right, could finish in 2nd place behind the Bengals, but more likely I expect the Browns, Ravens and Steelers to each have their struggles and the Browns to come in 3rd.
6. Which offseason moves are you most proud of? Do you feel that the Browns addressed what they need in the draft/free agency? Which moves left you scratching your head?
I feel very good about the trade down with the Buffalo Bills. GM Ray Farmer and Pettine saw a player they loved in Gilbert and were able to extract what could be a very high 1st rounder next year in moving down. In my eyes Gilbert, the 2015 first rounder and fourth rounder the Browns got are much more valuable than Sammy Watkins. Yet wide receiver is the spot I am most concerned about for the Browns. I would of loved to see them pick up a receiver in the 3rd or 4th round, even though I love what they did in the first 4 rounds, to help add talent to the outside. If Josh Gordon is suspended for a long time the Browns could struggle to open up the passing game, which could affect the running game. A rookie receiver may not of helped but signing Julian Edelman, James Jones or another veteran would have been nice.
7. The Browns might be losing their biggest play maker Josh Gordon for the entire season. How big of a blow is that to the offense, and do you think it’s something that they will be able to recover from as they didn’t really address the position in the offseason?
It will be a huge blow but the Browns still have some talent. Jordan Cameron is a big tight end who broke out last year. Andrew Hawkins is a perfect slot receiver with amazing release moves. Miles Austin has a history of being a solid receiver, when healthy. All of the young receivers will have a chance to make up for the loss of Gordon as well, but will have their struggles. Gordon was amazing last year but his stats were bloated by having the ball force fed to him most of the game. That won’t happen in Kyle Shanahan’s system.
8. The Browns defeated the Rams last year in the preseason, how do you see tonight’s game shaking out?
I think that Hoyer will lead the Browns to a couple scoring drives with the pass game surprising many. The Rams front 7 gives me concerns for our run game, which hasn’t totally meshed in the new Zone Blocking Scheme. I expect a big play from our defense as well, though the Rams will score points. Seems like the Browns will likely play their starters longer then the Rams, which will benefit us on the scoreboard. Manziel will come in and try to wow either leading to some amazing plays or some horrific. In the end 31-28 is my guess.
Tags: St. Louis Rams