Patriots expect a physical game against Browns


Patriots expect a physical game against Browns

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- The Cleveland Browns have one of the worst offenses in the NFL. They average only 16.9 points per game and don't have a star-studded depth chart.

But coming off a bye week, the Browns are a team that feels good about itself, having defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, 30-17, in New Orleans, nearly two weeks ago.

It was only their second win of the season, but it came in the type of style that Cleveland is supposed to be known for: its defense.

Linebacker David Bowens intercepted two Drew Brees passes, and returned both for touchdowns. The Browns picked Brees off four times in the game.

The Patriots are preparing for a similar type of defensive battle against the Browns on Sunday.

"These guys are a physical bunch, they can score a lot of different ways, and it's our job to stand up to the pressure and win the ball game," said Patriots tight end Alge Crumpler on Thursday.

"They're very solid," he said. "They're a much more physical bunch than the group Vikings that we just played. They're very disciplined, and they're a little rested, so I'm sure they're going to come out with some new looks."

But some looks will be similar. Browns head coach Eric Mangini spent six seasons on the Patriots' coaching staff as a defensive backs coach and the defensive coordinator.

"I would expect to see some similarities across the board," said Crumpler.

Another familiar face is tight end Ben Watson, who is in his first season with Cleveland after spending six years in New England. Watson has two touchdown receptions and 336 receiving yards in seven games for the Browns. In Cleveland's West Coast-style offense, a lot of the focus is on the tight ends.

The Pats' defense will be focusing on it as well on Sunday.

"Watson is one of the fastest tight ends in the league, so I mean, I would want to get the ball in his hands, too," said Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington.

Even with familiar faces on Cleveland's sideline, the Patriots will also be expecting some new looks from Mangini's squad. The reason? The Browns are coming off a bye week and their coaching staff has had extra time putting the game plan together.

It's the same thing the Patriots did against the Ravens in Week 6.

"You've got coaches sitting there, thinking of a thousand different things to try, since you've got a few extra days," said Crumpler. "And I'm sure they'll throw some new looks at us, just like we threw some new looks at Baltimore when we had our bye week."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Andrew Hawkins celebrates joining Patriots with 'Ballers' spoof

Andrew Hawkins celebrates joining Patriots with 'Ballers' spoof

Andrew Hawkins' situation isn't far off from a character in HBO's "Ballers." And he played into those connections with a video on Twitter.

The slot receiver, who signed with the Patriots on Wednesday, shares some similarities with the fictional football player Rickey Jerret, a veteran receiver who wades through interest from a number of teams, including New England, during free agency. Because of those similarities, Hawkins spoofed on a scene from "Ballers" where Jerret works out with Patriots receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Hawkins imposes his face over Jerret's.