Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Feeling a bit nervous about Sunday

Now that we are a few days away from the Browns last-minute win over Miami, our thoughts have turned to Sunday’s game against Tennessee.

And we admit we’re starting to get a little bit worried.

In the Titans, the Browns will be facing the No. 1 defense in the NFL. Tennessee is second against the pass, eighth against the run and the AFC’s best in the red zone, giving up just two touchdowns on six trips by the opposition inside the 20.

The Browns are catching a break, however, as starting wide receiver Kenny Britt is out for the year after injuring his knee. After Nate Washington (21 receptions on the year) who Joe Haden can shut down in his sleep, the Titans will trot out Damian Williams (2 receptions), Marc Mariani (3 receptions) and Lavelle Hawkins (5 receptions) – apparently wide receiver is even a bigger trouble spot in Nashville than in Cleveland.

Hopefully that means the Browns won’t have to focus on stopping Tennessee’s passing game because what worries us the most is Chris Johnson.

Johnson is off to a ridiculously slow start after holding out during training camp, gaining just 98 yards through three games, a big part of the reason why the Titans rank last in the NFL in rushing offense.

“Of course it’s frustrating,” Johnson told Fox Sports Tennessee after last week’s game. “In the first two games not having big ones, and then starting out this game with a couple of nice runs in the beginning, but all of them were getting called back. It’s always tough, but we have to hold our head up.”

You know Johnson is not going to go an entire season averaging 32.6 rushing yards per game; eventually he’s going to break out.

“It’s one of those things it just probably takes one nice run,” Johnson told ESPN. “It probably takes one or two breaks out of there to kind of get that feeling back again that we can do certain things… It’s got to improve if we’re going to win these next two weeks.”

We just hope it’s not Sunday against the Browns 29th-ranked rush defense.

***

Turns out we were right when we said the excessive celebration penalty on Mohamed Massaquoi and Ben Watson was highly suspect.

Former vice president of NFL officiating Mike Pereira told The Plain Dealer that “It strikes me as technically being a foul but also one you could have gone without making, frankly.

“I personally like the rule about not going to the ground to demonstrate because you were having guys lay down on the ground and act like they were putting a pillow under their heads and all that kind of stuff. Clearly, you really had over-the-top things that happened. The problem is that when you do something like that, then you get into this area where, geez, all of a sudden you get into where you take it literally and it becomes a little picky.”

Thankfully the penalty didn’t end up costing the Browns the game, but it sure was close.

***

Speaking of being excessive, apparently there are now limits on how much standing you can do at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Head over to Cleveland Frowns to read about the ridiculousness that is the “excessive standing” policy at home games.

Just makes us that much more thankful that we can stand all we want at home while enjoying NFL Sunday Ticket.

***

We can’t began to explain how much it gets on our tits that the Steelers can put up a winning record every year while having a crap offensive line.

***

Finally, linebacker Chris Gocong is the latest player to hit the Browns ATM in the form of a contract extension.

The Browns reached a three-year, $16.8 million contract with Gocong, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Gocong becomes the fourth player to get a new deal from the Browns this year, joining left tackle Joe Thomas, defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin and tight end Evan Moore.

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