Philadelphia Eagles News

Eagles-Browns Game Preview

Old friends, we meet again. Two weeks after the Eagles traveled to Cleveland for the third preseason game, the Eagles' 2012 season will get underway on Sunday afternoon, September 9 at 1 PM. Andy Reid and company will open up this year's campaign on the road against a team run by Reid's mentor (Browns President Mike Holmgren), his former general manager (Browns general manager Tom Heckert) and his former assistant (Browns head coach, and one time Eagles quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur).

Not only that, but the Browns currently have five former Eagles on their active roster in cornerback Sheldon Brown, defensive end Juqua Parker, cornerback Dimitri Patterson, wide receiver Jordan Norwood and tight end Alex Smith (linebacker Chris Gocong is also on injured reserve). When you add that familiarity to a full offseason of preparation for Week 1, the Eagles should be more than ready for what's to come.
But the Browns face some big questions heading into Week 1. Rookie running back Trent Richardson, the third overall pick in April's NFL Draft, returned to practice early this week after missing a few weeks following a knee scope. Richardson's status remains up in the air, though Shurmur has said that if Richardson does suit up, he, and not Montario Hardesty, will be the starter. Whichever running back gets the call will be joined in the backfield by another rookie, 28-year-old Brandon Weeden, himself a first-round pick. Whether Weeden plays in a fashion indicative of his experience level or his age remains up in the air.

Also up in the air is the status of star cornerback Joe Haden, who has been rumored to be facing a possible four-game suspension that could begin as soon as this week. Losing Haden would significantly affect the Browns' ability to handle the deep speed of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. The situations surrounding Richardson and Haden are only piled on to the absence of defensive tackle Phil Taylor (PUP) and linebacker Scott Fujita (suspended).

As for the Eagles, the goal is to start strong. With Jason Babin and Michael Vick practicing at full strength, the Eagles as close to fully healthy as an NFL team can be. There are nine different starters among this year's 22 on offense and defense from a year ago, but only two of them (linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks) are truly new faces. As both teams look to start their 2012 season off on the right note, make no mistake: facing off for the second time in three weeks, familiarity is sure to breed plenty of contempt.

Last Time They Met

December 15, 2008 – Eagles 30, Browns 10

Game Recap: The Eagles won their third game in a row to set themselves up for a surprising playoff push thanks to three David Akers field goals, a 50-yard Asante Samuel  return for a touchdown and 290 yards passing from Donovan McNabb. The defense was dominant, holding the Browns under 200 total yards.

Tale Of The Tape (2011 Stats)
Eagles Browns
Record 8-8 4-12
Points Scored Per Game 24.8 (8th in NFL) 13.6 (30)
Total Yards Per Game 399.1 (4) 288.8 (29)
Rushing Yards Per Game 142.3 (5) 95.7 (28)
Passing Yards Per Game 256.9 (9) 193.1 (24)
Points Allowed Per Game 20.5 (10) 19.2 (5)
Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game 112.6 (16) 147.4 (30)
Passing Yards Allowed Per Game 212.3 (10) 184.9 (2)
Turnover Ratio -14 (30-T) +1 (13-T)


Key Matchups

RDE Trent Cole vs. LT Joe Thomas

is widely considered one of the best left tackles in football, but his mettle will be tested early in the season against Trent Cole. Cole finished second on the team in sacks last year with 11, but is also dominant against the run. The last time these two faced off, Cole recorded four tackles and a sack. However, that was back in 2008 during Thomas' sophomore season. Since then, he has risen to the elite level, having been named to the Pro Bowl in five straight seasons. Cole is looking to start the season off on a strong note and will be challenged immediately by perhaps the best player he will face all season. Eagles Coverage Units vs. WR Josh Cribbs Josh Cribbs presents a great challenge for both the Eagles young kickers and special teams coach Bobby April's coverage units. Cribbs is the active leader in both kick return yardage (8,837) and kick return touchdowns (8), meaning second year kicker Alex Henry will be tested right out of the gate. Cribbs is also an ace on punt returns, recording one of his best seasons by returning 34 punts for 388 yards and a touchdown. However, last season was only the second time Cribbs failed to break 1,000 kick return yards or take a kick return to the house. This is good news for the Eagles, as they will be without special teams ace Colt Anderson as he rehabs from the ACL injury he sustained late last season.

Eagles Coverage Units vs. WR Josh Cribbs

Josh Cribbs presents a great challenge for both the Eagles young kickers and special teams coach Bobby April's coverage units. Cribbs is the active leader in both kick return yardage (8,837) and kick return touchdowns (8), meaning second year kicker Alex Henry will be tested right out of the gate. Cribbs is also an ace on punt returns, recording one of his best seasons by returning 34 punts for 388 yards and a touchdown. However, last season was only the second time Cribbs failed to break 1,000 kick return yards or take a kick return to the house. This is good news for the Eagles, as they will be without special teams ace Colt Anderson as he rehabs from the ACL injury he sustained late last season.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising