Veteran wide receiver Darrell Jackson previews the season finale against the Cleveland Browns in this latest column. Enjoy reading his souting report!
The Cleveland Browns run a 3-4 defense which we haven't faced since Pittsburgh so we'll do some studying up for it. The 3-4 is built to stop the run, but we've got a 1,000 yard backer in Frank Gore and the line is eager to block so I think we'll match up pretty well against it.
I don't really know too many or know much about the guys on their defense except for linebacker Andra Davis. I went to school with him, and he's a good friend. He's a hard nosed player. He likes to mix it up, he gets in there and hits. He's a great player, a smash mouth player and he's fully aware and capable of holding down his position. I think he anchors down their defense.
As a defense and as a secondary they've been up and down. Sometimes they play really well and sometimes they play a little off.
I think the guys have bought into the system there and they do fly around and make plays. Like I said, they've had games they'd probably like to have back, but they've got a shot to be in the playoffs so obviously they are doing a lot of things right.
In the AFC, they throw the ball a lot more and they've gone up against some teams that really stress throwing the rock. So they've had a lot of work defending the pass, and they've come away with quite a few interceptions in their secondary.
We've had a rough time with our quarterbacks this year but Shaun Hill has really gotten us on a roll lately. Now he's a little banged up which happens at quarterback because you are vulnerable. He's a tough guy and he showed that on Sunday. He got hit hard and knocked out for one play, and then came right back and threw a great touchdown pass to Vernon Davis. I'm sure he'll work hard this week to rehab and if he can go, he will.
If not, we've got confidence in Chris Weinke. He's a veteran, and he'll just have to step in and get the job done.
Our defense has a pretty good offense to contend with this week. They've got two receivers who are over a 1,000 yards, and they've got a nice running back in Jamal Lewis. Their offensive line has really gelled. They've got another veteran receiver in Joe Jurvicius, a guy I played with in Seattle. He definitely knows what he's doing. They are explosive and they get big plays and then they'll also dink and dunk. They are well balanced, Anderson has come on so our defense will have their hands full but they've had that all year and they've played well. We expect them to step up to the challenge.
I've played in Cleveland probably three or four times in my career. It's a tough place to play, especially with the cold weather at this time of the year. Their fans are diehard fans and they get on you. They talk a lot of smack, and they even get on their own team. It's a tough place to play but it's a great football atmosphere and a great test for us to face some hostility because you've got to be able to win in places like that.
Our team has done a much better job with turnovers and penalties lately. Those were really causing us to have a hard time out there but we've settled down and started to play better ball. We just want to go out in this last game and continue showing what we are capable of. We want to keep our composure and carry that on into next year.