Last Sunday at the Q, the San Diego Chargers lost a gut-wrenching game to their bitter rival Oakland Raiders, in a game that felt much like a funeral due to the huge amount of Raiders’ fans that infiltrated Qualcomm Stadium.
This Saturday, the Bolts travel to Northeast Ohio to face the historically awful Cleveland Browns, in a game that doesn’t mean much for either team.
Every week here at EVT, we’ve been highlighting the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. This week, the strengths are not as obvious as weeks before, but we will try to find some positives in the 0-14 Browns.
1. Joe Thomas
This week, Thomas was named to his eleventh straight Pro Bowl, which is indicative of the level of excellence he has displayed for most of his career. The offensive lineman has everything you look for in a franchise left tackle. He moves like a man half his size, but he can handle even the most talented bull rushers. It’s really a shame, the fact that a hall of fame player is stuck in such a terrible situation. But Thomas makes no excuses and comes to play every week. That only adds to his legacy. Joey Bosa will have his hands full trying to get around Thomas on Saturday.
2. Terrell Pryor
I know Pac-man Jones recently called him trash. But that’s just gamesmanship between players. The former college QB has shown enough flashes this season to consider him a strength in my opinion. He has all the physical tools you look for. He’s big and strong and shows no fear going up to get the football. Casey Hayward will be lining up across from him. I think the Pro Bowl CB can take him out of the game because Pryor is still learning the nuances of the position, but he is still dangerous on any given play.
3. Joe Haden
Haden used to be one of the top cover corners in the league, but 2016 has been tough for him. That being said, he has played better recently and is still a quality player. He has three interceptions in 2016 and is known to be a ball hawk in the secondary. Philip Rivers will have to keep an eye out for this cornerback.
Back in 2011, Griffin had a rookie season for the ages and many thought he was on his way to the hall of fame. But due to injury problems, the Griffin we saw in 2011 no longer exists. He doesn’t have the speed running nor the accuracy throwing he once displayed briefly. And to top it all off, he plays with poor structure and discipline, which exposes him to hard hits. The Chargers should be able to get to him on Saturday and expect their turnover streak to extend. Griffin will make a mistake. That is for sure.
Shelton was the team’s first round pick in 2015, and was supposed to be able to collapse the pocket on opposing QBs. That hasn’t been the case for the big man. So far in 2015, he has only 1.5 sacks and teams have had no trouble running the ball down Cleveland’s throat. Kenneth Farrow and Ronnie Hillman should get the ball and plenty of space to run.
3. The Browns’ culture
This Browns organization has become a punchline in the NFL. Literary no one takes them seriously anymore. The culture needs to change. Maybe Hue Jackson will accomplish that with this team and maybe this year was a necessary step back in order to take many steps forward starting in 2017.
So there you have it. This has the makings of a low-scoring game in which the Chargers should dominate the hapless Browns. But Mike McCoy better have his players ready, because it is safe to say that Cleveland doesn’t want to go 0-16 this year and they have two more shots to end their streak.