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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's a matchup to watch in Sunday's Jaguars-Browns game:
Browns receivers vs. Jaguars cornerbacks
The Jaguars' pass defense has been one of the NFL's best, limiting opponents to just 189.3 passing yards per game and 5.9 yards per play. However, the Jaguars' secondary suffered a major loss in Week 10 when CB Rashean Mathis suffered a season-ending ACL tear.
William Middleton will move into Mathis' spot in the lineup at right cornerback. The other starting cornerback, Derek Cox, has good size, length and physicality for the position, and he runs relatively well. There's some sentiment that the Jaguars will move to more zone coverage with Middleton, who's not as accomplished as Mathis, moving into the lineup. The Jaguars' nickel back is Drew Coleman, who has picked off a pass in two of the past three games.
The Browns' top target is rookie WR Greg Little, who hauled in six passes for 84 passes last week vs. St. Louis. Little is best on possession routes, but he was able to get open for a 52-yard catch vs. the Rams. Mohamed Massaquoi (head) has returned to practice this week and could play Sunday. He's probably the club's top vertical threat, though Joshua Cribbs also has some field-stretching ability. Jordan Norwood also will see some playing time in the slot.
The Browns' passing game isn't known for its field-stretching capabilities; look for a diet of short routes from the attack, which is gaining just 5.56 yards per play. Crossing patterns are a big part of this scheme.
Associate editor Arthur Arkush contributed to this story.