Seahawks need to avoid falling into trap against Browns’ speedy front 7
That run-first mentality the Seahawks have established as their offensive identity may be more of a run-first, second and third mentality when they go to Cleveland this Sunday.
The 4-1 Seahawks are set to meet a 2-3 Browns team that entered the season with high expectations but is reeling after a 31-3 loss to the 49ers on Monday. Falling to 2-4 would put Cleveland in a tough hole to dig out of if they’re going to make the postseason, and 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard expects to see desperation out of the Browns and their fans in the 10 a.m. contest.
That could actually play right into Cleveland’s biggest strength, too.
The Browns are tied for sixth in the NFL with 16 sacks this season, and their pass rush is led by third-year defensive end Myles Garrett, who is second in the league with seven sacks. That’s why when Huard was asked Thursday on Danny and Gallant what his biggest concern going into Sunday is for the Seahawks, he didn’t think twice about his answer.
“To me, there’s no question it’s that front seven of the Browns that’s loaded with athleticism and speed,” he said. “And if there’s a group that feeds off the energy of a stadium one way or another, good or bad, I think it’s the front seven more than anybody else. Their energy can often be dictated, helped and aided by the noise and the emotion in the building. I think that Cleveland Browns stadium is gonna be desperate. … You’re gonna get a very hungry and desperate team that will be playing off the noise and the emotion of that building.”
The good news is that the 49ers showed how to neutralize Cleveland’s pass rush by limiting the Browns’ opportunities to employ it, and Huard thinks the Seahawks can follow San Francisco’s lead.
“I thought (49ers head coach Kyle) Shanahan and San Francisco had a tremendous game plan, and that was to run it and keep that front seven guessing,” Huard said. “To trap them and to stretch them and counter them and just to run every run play imaginable with two backs or two tight ends or one back. I think that’s gonna have to be in some way the game plan for the Seahawks as well, because if they get in passing situations and they’ve got to block Myles Garrett and the rest of those guys with what I would say is about a half-step advantage in a really loud stadium, they’re going to have a very, very difficult time doing so.”
If Seattle is going to run right at the Browns, Chris Carson will likely have to play a big role. The Seahawks’ top running back is coming off two straight 100-yard games, but he also popped up on the injury report Thursday with a shoulder issue. He talked to reporters on Thursday, however, which is typically an indication that a player isn’t expected to miss that week’s game.
For a closer look at what the 49ers did to succeed in the run game against Cleveland and how the Seahawks could apply it to their own game plan, check out this week’s edition of Dave Wyman’s Football 101. And to hear the full Blue 42 segment with Huard on Danny and Gallant, click here.