Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Scouting the Cleveland Manginis
By Rich Cimini
Say this for former New York Jets coach Eric Mangini: He has the Cleveland Browns playing very well. Here's a quick, early look at what the Jets might expect Sunday in Cleveland:
• The Browns (3-5) have faced the toughest schedule in the NFL, as their opponents have combined for a 41-22 record (.651). As a comparison, the Jets' mark is 29-36 (.446).
• The Browns haven't allowed an opponent to score on their first possession. In fact, they've surrendered only 13 first-quarter points. The Jets have allowed only 10. Watch, the first quarter will turn into a track meet on Sunday. Uh, doubt it.
• The Browns have won two straight, and their three wins have come against defending division champs -- the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints (defending Super Bowl champs) and Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns are 7-5 over the last 12, dating to last season.
• The Browns, under former Jets special teams coach Brad Seeley (1994), are outstanding on teams. Opponents are averaging a league-low 16.7 yards per kickoff return and 3.5 yards per punt return, second-best in the league. It's a huge challenge for Mike Westhoff's gang. P Reggie Hodges (remember him?) leads the league with 10 punts inside the 10.
• The Browns' defense, headed by Rex Ryan's twin brother, Rob, employs an amoeba-like scheme. It's called an amoeba because it's always moving and changing. They use an alignment in which there are no down linemen, five linebackers and six defensive backs. They also have a look that includes only one DLM. Last week, Patriots QB Tom Brady was utterly confused. Against those looks, he was 3-for-13, with an 11.4 passer rating, according to ESPN Stats and Information. If they can confuse Brady, what's going to happen to Mark Sanchez?