Harbaugh on the bye week, preparing for Cleveland
The Browns will look much different Sunday than the team that lost, 14-6, to the Ravens in Week 2. A look at some of the changes the Browns have made.
Jason Campbell will start Sunday for the Browns, instead of Brandon Weeden, who started in Week 2. In his second season, Weeden looks like another draft mistake by the Browns,never consistent, and brutal at times. Campbell (22 of 36, 293 yards, two touchdowns) played well enough against the Chiefs on Sunday during a 23-17 loss to earn another start from head coach Rob Chudzinski. Campbell gives the Browns a better chance to knock off the Ravens than Weeden. Unfortunately for the Browns, they played their best football when Brian Hoyer was at quarterback, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month.
-New running back
Willis McGahee, a former Raven, is the new featured back for the Browns, replacing Trent Richardson, who was traded to the Colts. The Ravens did a decent job of containing Richardson (58 yards on 18 carries) in Week 2. McGahee was shutdown (nine carries, 28 yards) by the Chiefs on Sunday. If the Ravens let McGahee do damage, it will be another sign that their run defense is not up to par.
-New punt returner
The Browns suffered a major blow Sunday when kickoff and punt returner Travis Benjamin was lost with a season-ending knee injury. Davone Bess and Joe Haden are expected to take over the return duties, but Benjamin was one of the best in the NFL. He already had a 79-yard punt return and an 86-yard kickoff return. Kickoff coverage has been a problem for the Ravens at times this season, but they will not have to worry about Benjamin.
It would not be surprising to see another defensive battle Sunday. The Browns have an outstanding nose tackle in Phil Taylor, Haden is one of the league’s best corners, and the Browns rank seventh overall in total defense.
“They’re a legitimate, NFL-quality defense,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “They get after you up front. It’s a great front seven, good corners. So it’s a good football team.”
However, no matter how different the Browns (3-5) look, the Ravens (3-4) know they cannot afford a loss.