Dolphins position match up.
Ryan Tannefail vs Brandon Weeden.
This match up is going to be the most interesting and likely will define which team wins. Regardless of who we think is better or worse the fact is these guys are both first round picks who put up almost identical numbers last season. They both had very encouraging preseasons, and both have new tools at their disposal be it coaching or players.
I cannot pick one or the other because I think their supporting cast could very well be the difference. We aren't sure if Brandon is going to have reliable targets, but we aren't sure if Ryan's line can keep him on his feet long enough to impact the game. How those around either signal caller play is going to determine who puts their stamp on the game.
Trent Richardson vs Lamar Miller.
I honestly don't feel I need to say too much. Trent is coming off a strong rookie year despite all his injuries while Lamar Miller was hardly able to hold off Daniel Thomas for the starting job. Trent is going to turn heads this year. He's not only a fantastic rusher but his blocking and catching is just as good. Mr. Richardson wins this one comfortably, and I think the Browns first team run stopping has looked better than expected so far.
Browns o-line vs Miami front 7.
Without Cam Wake this would not even be close. Cam is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and if Mitch Schwartz can handle him or not is a big question (Though going against Kruger all off season is a big help). Dion Jordan likely won't be healthy, and that's probably best for the Dolphins because Joe Thomas is the best in the business. Oliver Vernon will be left with Joe. Meanwhile, Starks and Soliai will be left split between Mack, Greco and Gilkey. Greco is above solid, and Alex Mack is a pro-bowler. Gilkey is the question, but I've like what I've seen so far - and his best game as a Brown has come against the firing 4-3 of the Lions.
As for Misi, Wheeler and Ellerbe I wouldn't be shocked to see them not blitzing as much, opting to make it difficult for Brandon in a more coverage based role. Phillip Wheeler made a strong impression in coverage last year (6 passes defended) but was part of the awful Raiders team. Their run stopping should be strong but I don't think they will put on a dominant pass rush.
Miami o-line vs Browns front 7.
Browns win. Miami's o-line is awful at best while between Kruger, Sheard, Jackson, Robertson, Taylor, Bryant and Rubin the Browns boast a combined 27.5 sacks from the 2012 season (That's 7.5 more than the Jags total team). If I heard correctly, Miami's current LT gave up more sacks and hurries than any other lineman in 2012 while playing at RT, and according to multiple Miami writers their o-line was laughable during training camp.
Browns receivers vs Miami secondary.
I was going to give this to Miami convincingly until I saw they've listed Dimitri Patterson as their #2 corner. This guy was so bad he couldn't earn time over Buster Skrine. The Browns won't be afraid to mix Greg Little, Davone Bess and Travis Benjamin to try and exploit him. I thought for sure Will Davis would get the nod over him. At safety, the Dolphins have Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons. Both are veteran 5th round picks still trying to find their feet entering their 4th and 5th seasons respectively. Jones had somewhat of a break out season last year so Brandon will have to be careful there. Meanwhile, Brent Grimes has impressed. I'll still give this to the Dolphins, simply because we don't know what we're going to get out of our guys, but they certainly don't come without their holes. If Jordan Cameron can repeat his antics from the Lions game, the Browns will be looking good.
Miami receivers vs Browns secondary.
It all comes down to Buster Skrine and Tashaun Gipson. The Dolphins aren't as great at receiver as their fan base seems to think. First, we should note Joe Haden has handled Mike Wallace at his best in Shitsburgh, and he's struggled to find his feet in Miami. Brian Hartline is coming off a 1,000 yard season but he only managed to turn that in to 1 touchdown. He was also inconsistent. 4 games of 8+ receptions but also had 6 games with 3 receptions or less. Shockingly, that game span he had only 11 receptions but 36 targets. When he's cold, he is awful. The Dolphins also look to be starting Charles Clay at TE who is a developing 6th round pick they've tried hard to hide away on the depth chart. The Dolphins have also signed Brandon Gibson from the Rams to be their new Davone Bess, but how much chemistry he has with Ryan in his new system is yet to be seen.
Overall, I don't see how it's so easy for people to write off the Browns secondary. Sure, we've got two guys with questions, but they aren't facing 7 clones of Megatron. I'll give the slight edge to Miami, but it's only slight because of the two aforementioned guys that are still developing.
This is a game I think the Browns should win. I get it people think it will be close but truth be told I will be pissed if the Browns don't smack them one. In the first two preseason games the Browns lifted and showed they are tired of being pushed around. The same needs to be shown against the Dolphins who aren't world beaters by any stretch. If the Browns don't win by a touchdown or two, and convincingly control the game, I'll be disappointed. It's early and it's going to take time for our young team to really gel, but I think they ultimately want the same thing I do. Bring it on, and go Browns.
(Used Miami's current depth chart on their official website, so not sure how accurate.)
Thoughts? (TL-DR is not a thought! )
"Aren't you supposed to be sucking off Kangaroos and throwing a spear at tonight's dinner Abo boy?" - King of Kings.