Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) scores on a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

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Browns notes: Hue Jackson looking for better special teams play

Gregg Williams bracing for 'Beast Mode' Sunday in Oakland

September 28, 2018

Daryl Ruiter-Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – For as promising as the Browns’ 1-1-1 start is, the one consistent problem through the first 3 weeks of the season has been their special teams unit.

Whether it was the blocked field goal in overtime in Week 1, 2 missed field goals and PATs in Week 2 or a blocked punt in Week 3, not to mention 5 penalties, the unit led by new special teams coordinator Amos Jones has left a lot to be desired and is clearly their Achilles heel as the Browns head to Oakland.

“Need to get better, no doubt about it,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “It has been something that I have talked to our staff about and something that I talked to our team about.”

Outside of the returners and the lines, typically special teams is reserved for the back end of the roster but that may now change according to Jackson because of the difficulties they’ve had.

“I think that it is all hands on deck,” Jackson said. “We all have to do all that we can. Some guys are going to have to do more because it is so important to our football team. We have to continue to get better.

“We have to make our kicks. We have to protect better. We have to cover better. We have to do it all better. I think everybody understands that.”

One of those changes may include receiver Jarvis Landry returning more punts after Jabrill Peppers was replaced last week against the Jets.

“We knew when we signed Jarvis that he was a capable punt returner in this league. His experience factor was always on the radar,” Jones said. “Jabrill needed a break. Jarvis was the next man up so to speak in that situation. With Jarvis, his selflessness shows up in that situation because he has been a punt returner and a primary punt returner in this league for quite a few years.”

Peppers, cornerback T.J. Carrie and receiver Antonio Callaway are averaging 21.0 yards per kickoff return and both Peppers and Landry are averaging 5.0 yards per punt return.

With the Raiders having a rookie long snapper, punter/holder and now kicker, opportunity presents itself for Amos’ group to finally make a play this weekend.

“The biggest thing for us is there is going to be some newness kind of like how we went through last week with the snap, hold and kick,” Jones said. “That is going to be kind of the deciding factor there. Each week is going to have an opportunity for us to make a play. We just have to make them when they are there and put ourselves in position to make those plays and see us making them.”

Brace for Beast Mode – 30 is the cliff that most running backs in the NFL fall off, but not Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch.

“He is one of the best football players, running backs that in the 30 years I have been in the NFL have had a chance to see,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. “He is a dominant running back football player.”

At the age of 32, Lynch is still going strong for the Raiders averaging 3.5 yards per carry with 3 touchdowns this season.

“We have to do our job on trying to minimize the opportunities where it is one-on-one tackles because he pretty much still wins in the one-on-one tackles,” Williams said. “We have to have multiple people being around the ball when he is around the ball, but it is amazing to me to see how strong and how good he still is, especially when you play that violent contact position that he plays and that he is giving out a lot of that violence as he plays.

“His style of play is fun for me to watch. It is hard to coach against because he is a real violent runner, and he still being able to perform at a high level. I just tip my hat to him. We have our work cut out.”

Going streaking – During his weekly availability with reporters, Landry was surprised when asked if ranking second in NFL history with 20 consecutive games with at least 5 receptions means something to him.

“Now it does,” Landry said. “I didn’t know about it. But, yeah, now it does. Now it does.”

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown holds the record with at least 5 catches in 36 straight games from 2013-15.

“I can only speak about just getting opportunities and taking advantage of the opportunities regardless of the play call or whatever it is,” Landry said. “If the quarterbacks trust me to throw it to me, then I gotta make the play.”

To no one’s surprise Landry leads the Browns in receptions (20) and receiving yards (278) through 3 weeks, but he has yet to reach the end zone.

Injury report – Out: LB James Burgess Jr. (knee)

Questionable: TE Seth DeValve (hamstring), QB Tyrod Taylor (back), S Damarious Randall (heel)

Expected to play:  LB Christian Kirksey (shoulder/ankle), DE Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle), DE Myles Garrett (knee), LT Desmond Harrison (shoulder), WR Jarvis Landry (knee)