To say Houston Texans tight end Pharaoh Brown is eager to face his former team in the Cleveland Browns might be an understatement.
Brown played for Cleveland in 2019, starting six games and catching two balls for 26 yards. Brown has since moved on to Houston, where he has started 10 games over the last two seasons. He’s excited to put a hurt on his former team (and their fans) despite his Texans being a double-digit underdog on the road.
“I want to go out there and dominate those guys,” Brown said, per Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790. “I have a bunch of family and friends who are Browns fans. Those Cleveland Browns fans talk the most stuff you can ever believe. I know all those guys. I’m coming hard. Excited to go back.”
Brown played well in the Texans’ 37-21 victory against Jacksonville, catching four passes for 67 yards. He also made an impact blocking, which his running back Mark Ingram took notice of.
“He’s physical in the run game,” Ingram told the Texans official site. “Takes pride in blocking, and he’s going to get his guy. Even when he doesn’t, he comes to the sideline and says ‘That was on me.’ Obviously, he has the talent and the athleticism to go run routes downfield, catch the ball, break tackles. He’s a versatile tight end. A complete tight end. I think he’s one of the best in the game and he’s super underrated.”
The Texans are littered with former Browns players, most notably quarterback Tyrod Taylor, middle linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback Terrance Mitchell.
Browns Looking to Rebound Following Heartbreaker
Brown should be careful about what he wishes for. Despite the opening week victory, the Texans are expected to be one of the worst teams in the league this season, while the Browns are hungry coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Chiefs in Week 1.
The Browns led for three-plus quarters but let Patrick Mahomes and Co. back into the game with some costly mistakes.
“It is a lot of little things that add up to be a big thing. It is simple alignment, assignment, technique and schematically what we are asking our players to do,” Stefanski said. “It is our job to out our players in position to succeed, and sometimes, we as coaches fall short. Sometimes it is just as simple as an alignment, assignment or technique error. With all of that, you need to play clean football. You have to do it for 60 minutes, whether it is the first, second, third or fourth quarter.”
The Browns are listed as 12.5-point favorites against the Texans, per Odds Shark, which is tied for the largest spread of the weekend. Tampa Bay is an equally large favorite against Atlanta.
Odell Beckham Watch Continues for Browns
One player the Browns hope to have on the field against the Texans is Odell Beckham Jr. The polarizing pass-catcher was inactive against the Chiefs, coming in as a late inactive despite some very positive momentum in camp.
“I would not call it a conservative approach,” Stefanski told reporters Monday. “We are just trying to be appropriate with all of this. Ultimately, he is coming off of a major surgery, and we are going to work through it day by day. When he is ready to play, he will play.”
Even without Beckham, the offense was clicking against the Chiefs, racking up 457 yards. That was the most of the week before the Raiders edged the Ravens on Monday Night Football in an overtime thriller.