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How can the Broncos beat the Browns?

I spoke with The Orange and Brown Report’s Jake Burns to find out.

This week’s Thursday Night Football is between a pair of banged up 3-3 teams desperate to keep their heads afloat in a crowded AFC playoff race. The Browns will enter the contest down a significant part of their starting offense, including Baker Mayfield. Meanwhile, the Broncos are hoping a hobbled Teddy Bridgewater can score points on a Cleveland defense led by Myles Garrett, Jadaveon Clowney, and Denzel Ward.

To get the lowdown on this week’s opponent, I invited the Orange and Brown Reports’ Jake Burns to speak with me on Cover 2 Broncos. Burns is on the short list for NFL film gurus I respect most, so this chat was highly anticipated. What follows are a brief overview of what we spoke about.

Who is playing, and how solid is the depth?

Broncos injury list

Out

LB Alexander Johnson (IR)

LB Baron Browning

ED Aaron Patrick

Questionable

QB Teddy Bridgewater

LT Garett Bolles

S Caden Sterns

Depth questions / notes

  • How does the approach change if Teddy Bridgewater gives way to Drew Lock?
  • Justin Strnad, Micah Kiser, Curtis Robinson, Barrington Wade at linebacker.
  • Potential game for McTelvin Agim - Browns go heavy so 6 DL makes some sense.

Browns Injury list

Out

RB Kareem Hunt

RB Nick Chubb

LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

QB Baker Mayfield

Questionable

WR Odell Beckham Jr.

ED Jadeveon Clowney

C JC Tretter

LT Jedrick Wills

RT Jack Conklin

Depth questions / notes

  • D’Ernest Johnson has played 146 offensive snaps across three NFL seasons. He has 50 touches for 290 yards.
  • If Conklin or Wills can’t play, who will take their place in the starting lineup and how do they match up vs. Von Miller? What will Stefanski to do to try and protect the backup?

Browns offense vs. Broncos defense

  • How will the offense look with Case Keenum and D’Ernest Johnson making their first starts of the season?
  • Stefanski’s a creative and efficient play caller who doesn’t hesitate to relentlessly pick at an opponent’s weakness.
  • The Broncos redzone rush defense is a sore spot.
  • The Broncos have played the vast majority of the season without Bradley Chubb, which has had a bigger impact on their pass rush than expected.
  • Harrison Bryant seems to have taken the place of Andy Janovich in 21 personnel.
  • Stefanski has no qualms about using motion to create favorable blocking angles, ID the defense, or isolate mismatches.
Broncos coverage usage through 5 weeks (no week 6 update by 10.20.21)
Ryan Weisman / The Kneel Down

Broncos personnel breakdown

11 P on 44% of snaps - Pass 63% of snaps, 11 sacks, 5 TDs, 4 INTs, 71 rushes for 4.5 YPC.

12 P on 20% of snaps - Pass 43% of snaps, 8 sacks, 3 TD, 1 INT, 38 rushes for 4.3 YPC.

21 P on 11% of snaps - Pass 60% of snaps, 3 sacks, 18 rushes for 3.8 YPC and 2 TD.

13 P on 21% of snaps - Pass 34% of snaps, 2 TDs, 27 rushes for 4.9 YPC and 1 TD.

Browns have rarely used 22 and 23 this season. They’ve used 01, 0, and 14 one time each.

Broncos defensive personnel usage through 5 weeks (no week 6 update by 10.20.21)
Ryan Weisman / The Kneel Down

Broncos D by DVOA rank

Pass - 21st

Rush - 20th

WR1- 32nd

WR2 - 19th

WR3+ - 11th

TE - 12th

RB - 3rd

Left - 22nd

Middle - 27th

Right - 1st

Deep - 24th

Short - 7th

Broncos coverage success through 5 weeks (no week 6 update by 10.20.21)
Ryan Weisman / The Kneel Down

RUN D

10th by Adjusted Line Yards

23rd Left End

17th Left Tackle

10th mid/guard

8th right tackle

3rd right end

Browns run concept usage through 5 weeks (no week 6 update by 10.20.21)
Ryan Weisman / The Kneel Down

Browns defense vs. Broncos offense

  • The Broncos enter the game with two proven receivers, a receiving tight end, followed by duct tape and super glue holding together the rest of their receiving corps. What will Joe Woods do to try and take advantage?
  • How badly does the JOK injury sap the run defense?
  • Will Jadeveon Clowney play?
  • How can the Broncos find success against the secondary?
  • Shurmur frequently dials up 2-man concepts with max protection.
  • Broncos will lean heavily on three receiver sets. Through six weeks Browns have used nickel less frequently than NFL average, dime more frequently.
Browns coverage use through 5 weeks (no week 6 update by 10.20.21)
Ryan Weisman / The Kneel Down

Broncos personnel breakdown

11 P on 61% of snaps - Pass 70% of snaps, 11 sacks, 5 TDs, 4 INTs, 71 rushes for 4.5 YPC.

12 P on 24% of snaps - Pass 60% of snaps, 8 sacks, 3 TD, 1 INT, 38 rushes for 4.3 YPC.

13 P on 9% of snaps - Pass on 23% of snaps, 2 TDs, 27 rushes for 4.9 YPC and 1 TD.

Broncos have rarely used 21 and 22 P this season. They’ve used 20, 23, and 0 a handful of snaps.

Browns defensive personnel usage through 5 weeks (no week 6 update by 10.20.21)
Ryan Weisman / The Kneel Down

Browns D by DVOA rank

Pass - 20th

Rush - 3rd

WR1- 26th

WR2 - 20th

WR3+ - 15th

TE - 13th

RB - 8th

Left - 12th

Middle - 8th

Right - 32nd

Deep - 30th

Short - 8th

Browns coverage success through 5 weeks (no week 6 update by 10.20.21)
Ryan Weisman / The Kneel Down

RUN D

6th by Adjusted Line Yards

24th Left End

1st Left Tackle

7th mid/guard

7th right tackle

10th right end

Broncos run concept usage through 5 weeks (no week 6 update by 10.20.21)
Ryan Weisman / The Kneel Down

Poll

Will the Broncos beat the Browns on TNF?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Yes
    (379 votes)
  • 65%
    No
    (728 votes)
1107 votes total Vote Now