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Ravens will not take Browns lightly in home opener

BROWNS VS. RAVENS

Sunday, September 17 | 1:00 PM
M&T Bank Stadium
CBS/WJZ-TV (Ch. 13)
98 Rock | WBAL-1090 AM

The Cleveland Browns gave the Steelers everything they could handle in a tough 21-18 loss last week. These are not the inept Browns anymore.

The Browns also believe they have found their young franchise quarterback. After amassing 290 yards combined passing and running offense against a difficult Pittsburgh defense, DeShone Kizer knows a Week 2 jump in performance will be necessary if he hopes to lead the Browns to their first win of the season.

“That Steelers defense was as tough of a defense as we are going to see. They play almost every coverage very similar to Baltimore,” Kizer said. “It is a great one-two punch in the sense that you get to play two AFC North teams. Both schematically play three-down, four-down have a great front seven up front and you are going to see every coverage they have.”

The Ravens haven’t lost at home to a rookie quarterback since John Harbaugh took over in 2008.

“They tip a lot of balls,” Kizer said. “They do a great job when they are not right next to the quarterback of getting their hands up so we have to get those hands down and eliminate turnovers. Obviously, they played one heck of a game against Cincinnati doing their best to take the ball away from them. It is our job to make sure that we keep the ball in our hands and out of harm’s way.”

Kizer, of course, is coming off a performance in which he took seven sacks. The rookie put the blame on himself for all seven and stressed Wednesday “the next step in the process for me” is to “embrace the check-down,” as Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston told him during the preseason.

“It is just a mentality,” Kizer said. “My mindset when I have the ability to run the ball is to always try to extend the play as much as I can. Now, as I step into this week, understanding that yeah, you can extend the play and are going to have to use your legs to make plays, but when the check-down is there and you get a running back out, that is where the ball needs to be.”

Meanwhile, the biggest Ravens announcement on the injury front was that running back Danny Woodhead will be sidelined for at least four weeks with a hamstring injury, Head Coach John Harbaugh announced. He then ended up getting placed on injured reserve with the hope of returning later in the season.

The good news for Baltimore is that outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who went down with a knee/ankle issue in Sunday’s game, is not expected to have a prolonged absence.

The Ravens had a short-handed secondary for Wednesday’s practice because cornerbacks Sheldon Price (concussion) and Jaylen Hill (thigh), and safety Eric Weddle(illness) all didn’t participate.

Price and Hill both missed practice time last week and were inactive for the last game. Weddle played Sunday and was in the locker room after practice.

 

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