Big thanks to Chris Pokorny of Dawgs By Nature for providing these in-depth answers on the Browns.
Buffalo Rumblings - Considering the overall roster talent, have you (and Browns fans) been happy with the job Hue Jackson has done?
Dawgs by Nature - In order for us to mentally get through this season, I'd say that many of us are trying to turn a blind eye to the coaching job that Hue Jackson has done. I saw the innovation play-calling he did in Cincinnati, and I saw traces of it in the preseason.
Once the regular season hit and Jackson saw the talent gap compared to other NFL teams, I think he scaled things back significantly. Having a new quarterback every other week didn't help matters, but the real issue in my opinion has been the constant changing of starters (due to injury) on the offensive line.
Much of Jackson's offensive creativity uses things like pulling guards and blocking people in space, but our line hasn't been able to develop the chemistry necessary to run those types of things. We hope to get a better evaluation of Jackson next year, when an influx of better talent arrives via the draft and free agency.
BR - Explain the strengths and weaknesses of Terrelle Pryor. He's had a great year making the full transition to WR.
DBN - Probably the most surprising thing about Terrelle Pryor is that he doesn't drop passes. The route he's been used on the most is the mid-range comeback route -- in other words, he runs 15-20 yards down the field, turns around, and comes back about 5 yards. Opposing cornerbacks respect his speed too much, and for the ones who do play close up on him, Pryor has the subtle push-off down pat.
Pryor should also excel at catching the deep ball, which we saw all of training camp and in the preseason. Unfortunately, our quarterback play has been so terrible that they haven't been able to take advantage of that skill. In terms of weaknesses, the main one for Pryor involves crossing routes. When he crosses the field, as he makes the catch, he is angled toward coming back to the ball, which prevents him from having momentum going upfield. Then, he'll see the defender he needs to beat, and continues running backward in an attempt to use his speed to out-run them and then turn upfield. That strategy hasn't worked for positive yards after the catch yet. The other weakness might be with his personality.
Don't get me wrong -- I don't think he's a cancer to the team or anything that serious. However, he's had more than a handful of pre- and post-game quotes this year that have drawn attention to him for the wrong reasons.
BR - Best facet of this Browns team? Worst facet?
DBN - The best facet should be the receiving corp of Terrelle Pryor, Corey Coleman, Andrew Hawkins, and Gary Barnidge. I think the quarterback play and offensive line injuries have really hurt that group from shining like I believe they can. The worst facet for most of the season was the safety position.
I can't tell you how many Q&A's I did with opposing blogs where I just ripped our safeties to shreds. About a month ago, though, the Browns randomly started a new undrafted free agent named Ed Reynolds. He's not doing anything special, but he has stopped the bleeding and helped stabilize the position a little bit. The worst facet is the center position, where Cameron Erving is starting.
When he played some guard as a rookie last year, he was the worst guard I'd ever seen. Prior to this season, knowing the season was basically a wash already, I said that it made sense to just let Erving play center the whole year to see if the former first-round pick was salvageable. Unfortunately, we're still waiting. I don't think there's any way we can have him as our penciled in starter for 2017. He's that bad.
BR - How has Jamie Collins played since the trade?
DBN - Well, he can certainly make a lot of tackles. He's only played five games with the Browns, but is already fourth on the team in tackles. After this week's game, he'll likely pass our nose tackle to be third on the team in tackles.
He's also gotten to the quarterback enough times for me to be impressed. I'm worried that we're starting to see a lack of motivation from him when it comes to going all out, because of the circumstances (winning in New England, and losing in Cleveland). I think he'll try to test the open market in free agency still, but that Cleveland will re-sign Terrelle Pryor and then slap the franchise tag on Jamie Collins.
BR - Who's the one player (outside of Pryor) the Bills need to focus on stopping? And who's the one player the Bills should look to exploit?
DBN - The Bills will need to focus on stopping Isaiah Crowell. The offensive line's run blocking was terrible for a long stretch of the season, and Crowell isn't going to make yardage when all the gaps are filled. If there is a hole, though, look out -- his speed gets better at the second level and then he's a load to bring down.
Last week, RG Jonathan Cooper, the former first-rounder by the Cardinals, made his first start with Cleveland and was very impressive as a run blocker. The Bills should look to exploit Tramon Williams in the secondary. Last week, Williams was finally shifted over to a starting safety spot due to injuries. For the past two years, though, he hasn't had very many "winning" plays to speak of.