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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
PFW Browns correspondent Tony Grossi, the Browns' beat writer for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, recently took time out to answer five questions about the club entering Week 11.
1. Where will OLB Scott Fujita's absence loom largest on defense?
Grossi: He was strong on the outside in the run defense on early downs and very effective as an inside rusher in their sub package. He also wore the defensive helmet phone and called the signals on the field. He was truly a leader on defense.
2. After four games, how does Colt McCoy compare to the other Browns rookie passers you've seen?
Grossi: He's the smartest quarterback I've seen come through Cleveland since Bernie Kosar. Veteran or rookie. His football IQ is high, his poise is uncommon, his vision is that of a veteran and his accuracy — in the pocket and on the run — is exceptional. The only question remains about his arm strength, which we can't gauge until December in the cold and wind.
3. Did you agree with Eric Mangini's strategy to attempt a pass on first and third downs and a run on second down when the Browns were backed up near their goal line in OT vs. the Jets?
Grossi: In all my years covering the NFL and the Browns, I've never seen that exact situation before — backed up at your own three with 1:35 left in an OT. I can honestly say I didn't know what I'd do then or now. If Mangini hands off to run out the clock he is effectively playing not to lose and would be ripped. The first-down pass was there because of the element of surprise, but McCoy missed (TE Benjamin) Watson. After that, I think they got caught in between trying to get a first down and trying to avoid a turnover. Very tough predicament.
4. What aspect of the Jaguars' offense, defense or special teams could give Cleveland the most trouble?
Grossi: If (QB David) Garrard gets protection, his accuracy on play-action passing has been tremendous and could make for a long day for Browns CBs. The one-two punch of (RB) Maurice Jones-Drew on the ground and (TE) Marcedes Lewis in the air also could strain the safety positions.
5. Finally, an AFC North question for you: who's more likely to win the division — Baltimore or Pittsburgh?
Grossi: I think the Ravens are in better shape, physically, but I don't consider them a Super Bowl contender because of their deficiencies in their pass rush and in their secondary.
Tony Grossi's work can be found in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer (Cleveland.com/browns). He can be followed on Twitter.com@TonyGrossi.