FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the Patriots travel to Cleveland to face the 2-5 Browns on Sunday, it will be another in a long line of tests for the team which currently holds the NFL’s best record at 6-1.
The Browns will be well-rested, coming off a bye week. They will also be well-prepared. Their head coach, Eric Mangini, needs no introduction to the visiting Patriots, nor does his defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, who coached the Patriots’ linebackers in the team's first two Super Bowl winning seasons.
“It gives them extra time to prepare,” tight end Alge Crumpler said on Thursday. “You’ve got coaches sitting there, thinking of a thousand different things to try. 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.”
Mangini and Ryan will be sure to show a wrinkle to their defense to open the game against a Patriots offense which has managed just a combined 145 yards in the first half of their last two games.
“We can’t let the crowd get going early,” Crumpler said.
The Browns last played on Oct. 24, earning a road win after holding the Saints offense to 17 points.
“They’re solid. They’re a much more physical bunch than the group that we just played,” Crumpler said of the Browns’ defense. “They’re very disciplined and they’re well-rested, so I’m sure they’re going to come up with some new looks. But whatever, we’ll just stand up the pressure and show up for a full four quarters.”