Countdown to The Draft
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By: Will Burge
Bad weather again – It seems like every time the Browns have been on the road this season, the weather has been nice in Cleveland and bad where they play. Every time the team has been at home, the weather has been bad. That pattern continues on Sunday as the bay area is expecting torrential rain and over 25 mph winds.
So how does that affect a team’s game plan? Pat Shurmur, Brad Childress, and Dick Jauron all said it can’t affect the way you plan to attack a team. Shurmur admitted, however, that if the weather is sloppy then the play calling will become more “close to the vest.”
The entire reason they drafted a big, strong quarterback like Brandon Weeden was to play in games with bad weather. The entire reason they drafted a guy like Trent Richardson was to control the clock in bad weather games. Let the young men do what they do.
Shurmur compared it to their home game against San Diego where they had to play in heavy rain and 40 mph winds. That was a game the Browns won. Maybe the weather can help them break their 12 game road losing streak.
Young team, new experience – One of the factors that people rarely think about is travel. NFL players are a very regimented bunch and the slightest change in schedule can test a team’s mental strength. For the first time this season, the Browns will be departing for a road game on Friday.
This may not seem like a huge issue, but it changes the approach of the weekend. With such a young roster it will be many players first experience with the change. Add in the three hour time difference and player’s body clocks can be thrown off tilt.
Brad Childress said that it will only become a distraction if the young guys let it be. For someone like TJ Ward, who grew up in the bay area and has a ton of family there, it presents a whole different spectrum of problems. He will have to deal with ticket requests, family dinners, and friends he has not seen since the offseason. These very things are some of the reasons that it is so hard to win on the road in the NFL.
Not much flash on the practice field – There are three players on the Browns who attended Kent State University and only one of them is currently practicing, Ishmaa’ily Kitchen. Both Josh Cribbs and Usama Young have not practiced this week and are highly doubtful for the game on Sunday.
Their alma mater will play a huge game tomorrow night in Detroit and a win should send them to a BCS Bowl game. They would be the first MAC school to participate in a BCS game.
Cribbs actually chartered a bus to take fans of the Flashes to Detroit to cheer on his former school. You have to wonder if he or Young might show up on the sidelines if they know they aren’t playing on Sunday.
|Will Burge covers the Browns for ESPNCleveland.com and hosts 3 Deep, Monday - Friday from 7pm-9pm.|
Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge
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