The Cleveland Browns are a touchdown favorite against the Washington Football Team, but a game-changer could be the Redskins disruptive pass-rush, led by this year’s No. 2 overall pick Chase Young.
Young has 2.5 sacks so far this season, while veterans Ryan Kerrigan and Jon Bostic have recorded a pair each. Former Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall sent a clear message to Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield while on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football — beware.
“This is for Baker Mayfield, baby. Beware, Baker Mayfield, because that Washington defensive line is coming,” Hall said. “And so [Browns head coach] Kevin Stefanski has to lean on this run game. He can’t just drop Baker Mayfield back. These pass rushers have struggled a little bit when you talk about stopping the run. But when you say, ‘just drop back and go get the quarterback,’ they go get the quarterback.”
— GMFB (@gmfb) September 26, 2020
Mayfield has had an uneven start to the season, but turned in a solid stat line in a win against the Bengals last week. Mayfield completed 16-of-23 passes for 219 yards and a pair of touchdowns, a large chunk of that coming on a 43-yard bomb to Odell Beckham Jr.
Mayfield recognizes the threat Washington’s pass-rush presents, calling them “game wreckers.”
“They are really good up front. That is the challenge for us. The game starts up front. We have to bring the intensity. They have great players,” Mayfield told reporters. “Obviously, Chase Young, a high draft pick, but he is playing like it. He is proving why they chose him so high. They have guys all around. It is not just him. We have to find completions, get the ball out, establish the run game and not let them be the game wreckers.”
Browns Rookie Jedrick Wills Will be Tested by Chase Young
Rookie tackle Jedrick Wills is in charge of protecting Mayfield’s blindside and faces his largest challenge of the season against Young and Co.
“Just a freak of nature,” Browns rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills said of Young. “You do not see a lot of guys like him around the league. He just has a lot of size and ability and a lot of speed and power, which is a good combination of everything you need.”
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski is eager to see his rookie work in the tough matchup.
“Jed is somebody that is going to get incrementally better each week, just like we hope for our offense just to learn from each one of our reps,” Stefanski told reporters. “Playing in this league, there are no easy outs. There are some really good defensive lines that he is going to face and that our offensive line is going to face. Obviously this week, the team coming in here with five first-round picks on the defensive line is really a big challenge for our whole team.”
Browns Have Monster Rushing Attack
What could help the Browns cause in slowing down the pass-rush is establishing the run game that was so successful last week against the Bengals. Cleveland rushed for 215 yards on the ground, riding Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
While the ground game has been the strength of the Browns, he said it’s too soon to label the offense just yet.
“Obviously, it’s about the team, but I’ll tell you, we’re only two games in this thing,” Stefanski told reporters on Friday. “To say we’re exactly what we’re going to look like week in and week out, I don’t think that’s fair. This thing is growing really on all sides of the ball – offensively, defensively and special teams. We’re going to evolve as need be throughout the season.”