Chris Pokorny of Dawgs by Nature was nice enough to answer 5 questions about his Cleveland Browns heading into today’s game. He shared his thoughts on a couple of former Titans as well as his thoughts on the Browns quarterback carousel.
1. You have a couple of former Titans in Jason McCourty and Kenny Britt. It seems like they are having very different seasons. McCourty has been great according to PFF. What have you seen from him so far?
Even though it's a limited sample size, through six games, one could argue that Jason McCourty has been the team's best cornerback since returning to the league in 1999, minus a couple of solid stretches by former Browns cornerback Joe Haden earlier in his career. I don't recall a play yet this season where he's had a lapse in coverage, and the biggest bonus has been his ability to create or capitalize on turnovers. I didn't follow him in Tennessee much, but he's had a couple of plays where he has run up from behind or the side and punched the ball out of the ballcarrier's arms for a fumble. When Cleveland first signed him, I knew that PFF had shown a decline in production for him over the past couple of years in Tennessee, but I wouldn't know it based on his start to the year. He's playing like an All-Pro cornerback -- although as I say that, news came out that he is now questionable for Sunday's game after hurting his ankle on Thursday.
2. Britt, to no one's shock here, has appeared to be a disaster. How does he figure in to the plans for this team going forward?
Disaster is an appropriate adjective to describe Kenny Britt's time with the Cleveland Browns. It started in the preseason, when he failed to drag his feet in the end zone on a play that looked like one that 99% of NFL-caliber receivers should have no problem executing. Then the dropped passes piled up at a rapid pace, including the start of the regular season. There were plays in which he appeared to be "loafing." He conducted an interview with reporters while his back was to them the entire time. He poked fun at criticism on social media. I can't imagine him lasting beyond this season, and at some point, I wouldn't be surprised if the club cuts bait on him before the end of 2017.
3. DeShone Kizer has been reinserted as the starting quarterback. Do you think he has a chance to be THE guy for this team?
If you would've asked me this question back in Week 2 or Week 3, I would've painted a different picture. The positives are that he seems to have the size, arm strength, and mobility to be an NFL quarterback, which is something that not a lot of Browns quarterbacks in the past decade or so have had. The negatives are his ball placement/accuracy and the length of time it takes for him to process decisions. Those are things that I'd like to just say, "oh, he's a rookie, so those things will improve over time." But Kizer was not given a franchise-level investment as just a second-round pick, so he has a very short period of time to prove his worth as a starting-caliber quarterback. After five starts, I didn't feel like I saw any progress in how long it was taking him to make decisions, and that's not something I think a player can improve overnight. Therefore, heading into Week 7, I'm not expecting him to be THE guy for the Browns. But, at 0-6, this season is about gathering intel on young players, so I can only hope things start clicking for him.
4. What have you seen from Myles Garrett so far? Worth the #1 overall pick?
Myles Garrett was worth the first overall pick and then some. Before missing the first four games due to an ankle injury, he tore it up in training camp and the preseason, regularly blowing by left tackles for touch sacks. What actually surprised me during the preseason games were several positive plays he made in run defense on the edge. In his first two regular season games, he's generated three sacks, and his hot pursuit on a rollout by Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson helped lead to a pick six for CB Jason McCourty last week. He's done this the past two games while trying to still have his ankle get closer to 100%, so he's definitely a beacon of hope in another dismal season. We know he's going up against a great left tackle in Taylor Lewan this week, but two of his sacks have actually come on stunts that have caught the center and left guard slow-footed in recognizing it. That could play a factor if Marcus Mariota's mobility is still limited.
5. Write the headline in Sunday's Tennessean.
"Old Habits Die Hard," with a picture of Kenny Britt screwing something up to help lead to a momentum-changing play for the Titans.