3 key X-Factors to watch for the Browns in Week 3
The Cleveland Browns are coming off of a Week 2 win over the New York Jets that felt somewhat hollow, as the Browns looked relatively unimpressive in beating a team that was down to its third-string quarterback.
Now, the Browns, who are 1-1, will head home to take on the Los Angeles Rams.
Obviously, this will be an uphill battle for Cleveland, so the Browns are going to need all hands on deck.
Here are three X-factors to watch for Cleveland in their Week 3 matchup.
3. Sheldon Richardson
The Browns need to be better against the run, especially against a Rams team that features a backfield that includes Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown.
Enter Sheldon Richardson, whom Cleveland signed for this very purpose during the offseason.
Once one of the top up and coming defensive linemen in the NFL, Richardson has fallen from grace a bit, but he remains a productive player, and his impact will be pivotal this Sunday. Not just against the run, but in terms of helping generate pressure on Jared Goff, as well.
2. Demetrius Harris
David Njoku suffered a wrist injury on Monday and will be sidelined for an extended period of time, meaning that Demetrius Harris will get a chance to shine at tight end.
The Browns picked up Harris in the offseason after he spent his first five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Playing behind Travis Kelce, Harris didn’t exactly get a big opportunity in Kansas City, but he made a small impact in 2018, catching 25 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns.
Basically, Harris can play, and Baker Mayfield may need him to pick up some big catches in short-yardage situations this weekend.
1. Joe Schobert
The Browns may be without both of their starting safeties in this one, meaning covering the middle of the field could be a problem.
That’s where linebacker Joe Schobert comes into play.
Perhaps the most underrated member of Cleveland’s defense, Schobert is a versatile player who can drop back in coverage a bit, and while he shouldn’t be relied upon to do that all game, he can help out in a pinch.
Schobert will be especially needed against a lethal Rams passing game that includes Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp.