Tale Of The Tape: Cleveland Browns At Kansas City Chiefs
- QuarterbackHead coach Rob Chudzinski announced Jason Campbell will start for the Cleveland Browns Sunday at Kansas City, leaving Brandon Weeden benched. Weeden is 0-4 this season as a starter.Alex Smith and head coach Andy Reid have formed an excellent partnership this season and that may be the primary reason the Chiefs are playing so well this season. Smith seems to accept that he is not an elite passer and is content to read defenses, exploit weaknesses and win games. That takes maturity and confidence, and Smith has it.
- OffenseThe Browns don’t have a very dependable running game, and that’s a big liability for head coach Rob Chudzinski because Weeden is not good enough to play consistently without one. The Browns need more from their offensive line and running back Willis McGahee. Wide receiver Josh Gordon is a solid weapon who is a threat on deep passes.The Kansas City offensive line has keyed the team’s ability to move the ball consistently. Running back Jamaal Charles is a threat to take the ball a long way when he gets to the second level, and is also fine between the tackles. Wide receiver Donnie Avery is not usually a threat to get into the endzone, but he has dependable hands and he gets open. WR Dwayne Bowe rarely comes through in key situations.
- DefenseThe Browns have a solid defense that has allowed the team to play competitively through most of the first half of the season. Give full credit to middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who excels at finding the ball carrier and depositing him on the ground. Strong safety T.J. Ward is an underrated defensive back, but he has excellent ball skills to make interceptions and bat away completions.The Chiefs are superb at attacking the pocket and putting huge pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Bookend outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali are having a competition to see who can get to the quarterback first. Nose tackle Dontari Powe is collapsing the pocket from the interior, and making life easier for Houston and Hali. Derrick Johnson is a powerful middle linebacker.
- Special TeamsTravis Benjamin is an explosive returner who has shown he can take it the distance and give the Browns an explosion play on the punt return. Placekicker Billy Cundiff has not hurt the Browns badly this year, but he has a history of missing important kicks.Dexter McCluster has explosive speed and has brought a punt back 89 yards for a touchdown. He gives the Chiefs a threat every time he steps on the field. Placekicker Ryan Succop has been solid this year, but he is not one of the better distance kickers in the league. Dustin Colquitt has dropped 19 of his 40 punts inside the 20 yard line.
The Chiefs would appear to have a chance to record another victory in this game. However, if they were to take the Browns lightly, that would be a formula that could lead to an upset. Look for the Chiefs to establish their ground game and pass rush early, and dictate the pace of this game. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor