Washington At Notable Disadvantage Against Browns
Washington plays on the road against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, then to prepare for the Cleveland Browns, their second road game in a row.
The Browns had the challenge of playing on Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals, but they were at home and got through it with a victory. They are currently in the midst of a ten day layoff, have added time to prepare for Washington and get them at home.
The Browns need the break given the number of injuries they've already had this season. Head coach Kevin Stefanski said it was possible that the team could have some players return to practice this week. Currently, the Browns could benefit from the return of corners Greedy Williams and Kevin Johnson as well as linebacker Mack Wilson. Olivier Vernon missed Thursday's game with an abdominal injury and Jack Conklin was active, but did not play.
Adrian Clayborn is reportedly dealing with a hip strain, is receiving treatment, but hopes to play through it.
Washington's defense and particularly their defensive line is incredibly impressive, coming off a game where they racked up eight sacks against the Philadelphia Eagles, setting up what could be a heavyweight fight.
Taking on the Cardinals today, the Browns will be watching to see how they do in generating pressure on Kyler Murray. The Cardinals offensive line largely struggled against the San Francisco 49ers in their opening game, though they were able to come out with a 24-20 victory.
The Browns offensive line has been good coming out of the gate, up to the task of blocking the Baltimore Ravens and imposing their will against the Cincinnati Bengals, even with Chris Hubbard playing right tackle.
The schedule puts Washington at a major disadvantage in this game, but the Browns still have to find a way to neutralize or at least limit a trio of defensive ends that includes Chase Young, Montez Sweat and Ryan Kerrigan. Not only did they combine for 4.5 sacks against the Eagles, but Young and Sweat are athletes at the level of Myles Garrett. Kerrigan is a great athlete in his own right, but he's also an extremely polished pass rusher. All three could be on the field at the same time.
The flip side of this is the offense for Washington struggled against the Eagles. They were able to come back from a 17-0 deficit to win 27-17, but none of it was pretty. Dwayne Haskins half time speech was more impressive than his play in the game and their running game was anemic at best.
Haskins completed 54.8 percent of his passes for 178 yards. The running game averaged 2.2 yards per carry. By contrast, Kareem Hunt is averaging 6.9 yards per carry and Nick Chubb is averaging 5.8.
The Cardinals give Haskins and the Washington offense an opportunity to improve, just as the Browns did against the Bengals. The difference is the amount of talent at the Browns disposal on that side of the ball.
One player to keep an eye on for the Cardinals is defensive end Chandler Jones. How they try to play him may be indicative of their approach with Myles Garrett next week.