The 0-1-1 Browns look to avenge the week five loss to the Jets from last season in Cleveland. New York comes to Cleveland with a 1-1 record.
The schedule makers don’t give the Browns many breaks, but they did this time. Sure it’s never easy to play a Thursday game just four days after playing a road game the previous Sunday. It’s easier to play the Thursday night game at home instead of traveling for a road game on a short week.
The schedule makers also give the Browns a break due to the Jets start to the 2018 season. New York will play its third game in ten days. Both of their prime time games are on the road. Bottom line, there is no better time for the Browns to get that elusive first win since Christmas Eve 2016 then on Thursday night.
“I don’t know if it is the pressure, we just need to do it,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “In the fourth quarter, I am not saying, ‘OK, what is going to happen here?’ Nothing like that. We just have to make the plays. Like I told our guys, we have to make the plays that win games. We were not able to finish it last weekend. We were not able to finish it the weekend before that. If we get the opportunity, we have to nail it shut when they show up. That is what we have to do.”
Cleveland is a three point favorite on Thursday night. Defense could be the name of the game. Both the Browns and Jets have up and coming talent on defense. Points could be at a premium. It won’t come as a surprise if either or both defenses put points on the scoreboard.
“We just have to keep proving to the rest of the league that we are for real and that what we have done in the first two weeks is not just a fluke. We just need to keep building on it,” linebacker Joe Schobert said. “One game, either good – like six turnovers – or zero turnovers does not make or break it in the NFL. You have to put it on consistently every week. One game is not going to do it in that sense. We are not putting it on like that. I think we just have to take the next steps at home.”
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has to step up and have a better performance Thursday night in comparison to his home debut. The offense could be without number one wide receiver Jarvis Landry due to a knee injury. Landry is questionable. Taylor has to be able to find his weapons in the passing game, no matter who is in and who is out. Facing a familiar opponent in the Jets could be just what Taylor needs.
“Definitely familiar with the team,” Taylor said. “Of course their defense, confident group, a young group, a fast group. They have been playing well on defense this year and in the past couple of years that I have faced them. Definitely a great task for us, an opportunity for us to get better and go out there and win at home.”
One guy to keep an eye on is new place kicker Greg Joseph. The rookie out of Florida Atlantic University is the replacement for Zane Gonzalez who is now looking for work following his second half disaster in New Orleans. Joseph will make his NFL debut in front of a national television audience. Can he handle the pressure?
“Absolutely. I have been working a lot. I have been busting my butt,” Joseph said. “I’m ready to give it everything that I have. I know there is still room to get better, and I am aware of that. That is something that I am keying in on and definitely looking to improve my game out here and keep elevating it.”
He is excited about being here, excited about having the opportunity to kick,” Jackson said. He has that mindset – ‘Put me out there, Coach. I will go win the game if need be.’”
The Browns defense will see some familiar faces lining up on offense for the Jets. Wide Receiver Terrelle Pryor had his breakout season in Cleveland in 2016. Running back Isaiah Crowell spent the first four years of his NFL career in a Browns uniform. Crowell signed with the Jets in free agency. So the Browns should know how to prevent Crowell from having a big game against them.
“Crow is definitely a fast and explosive runner,” Schobert said. “He has good balance. He can hit that one cut down hill, and if he gets that open space, he is hard to track and hard to bring down. Just have to make him stop his feet and not get a head of steam going.”
“He is a pro. Crowell is a good back,” Jackson said. “Obviously, he is averaging over six yards a carry right now. He has done some good things for them. He brings quickness, suddenness and speed. I think he is a tough, competitive person and a competitive player. We have to tackle him on Thursday night. They are going to give it to him, that is for sure.”
The Browns will sport a different look when they take the field Thursday night. Cleveland will wear a special color rush uniform. The jersey is brown and looks similar to the classic Cleveland uniform. The only difference is the numbers and names are in orange instead of white.
The game kicks off at 8:20 p.m. NFL Network will broadcast the game. Viewers in the Cleveland television market can also watch the game on WOIO, Channel 19. The Fox Sports Thursday night broadcast crew of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews and Kristina Oink will call the game.
The national radio broadcast will be by Westwood One. Ian Eagle and Tony Boselli are on the call.
Cleveland is in search of their first win over the Jets since 2007. The last win for the Browns in Cleveland against the Jets is back in 2006.
Scott Piker is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Browns. So follow him on twitter @ScottPikerSport