Fitz Back Behind Center**: After Geno Smith suffered an ACL tear against the Ravens and was subsequently placed on injured reserve, Ryan Fitzpatrick will make his seventh start of the season Sunday.
Fitzpatrick, who completed nine of 14 passes for 120 yards and 1 TD as a reliever in the Jets' 24-16 win over Baltimore, stressed the importance of having early production in games.
"I have to do a better job in a lot of different areas," he said this week. "I think the biggest thing is generating more points, getting off to better starts. I think when you start slow and you fall behind, some of the turnovers and stuff follow that. Getting off to a better start and scoring more points early will help us out in that department."
After halting their four-game slide, Fitzpatrick would like to get the Jets streaking in the other direction.
"We have to really put everything we have into Cleveland this week and not really worry about our record or their record or how disappointing the season has been to this point. We won last week," he said. "We're going to try to capture that momentum and just continue to build each week."
Ground & Pound: Last week, the Browns yielded 559 yards in a 31-17 loss to the Bengals including a staggering 271 yards on the ground as Jeremy Hill (168) and Giovani Bernard (80) did most of the damage. On the other end of the spectrum, the Jets got 100 rush yards from Matt Forte as they amassed 155 on the ground against the Ravens.* *The Browns rank 31st in three critical defensive categories — rush defense (139.9 yards per game), total defense (425.6 yards per game) and third-down defense (47.2%).
Sheldon's Encore: Versatile Jets' defender Sheldon Richardson was sensational against the Ravens, racking up seven tackles, three stops for loss and his first full sack of the season. Asked to play OLB at times this season, the athletic Richardson was a terror inside as a 3-4 DE. He is a unique talent who can create mismatches up front and the Browns have shuffled their offensive line throughout the first seven weeks. After limiting the Ravens to a franchise-low six yards on the ground, Richardson and the defense will look to contain RB Isaiah Crowell. The third-year back, an Alabama State product, combines power and speed and is averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
Jets Head to Cleveland for First Battle with Browns Since 2010
McCown Takes a Step: Veteran QB Josh McCown has been out of action the past five weeks, but the gunslinger was a full participant in Wednesday's practice. In seven games to date, the injury-riddled Browns have played six quarterbacks. The 37-year-old McCown, an SMU product who was a third-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals, has played with nine NFL teams and even had a stint with the United Football League's Hartford Colonials.
McCown started the 2015 opener between these two clubs at MetLife Stadium, but he was forced to exit early with a concussion. The Jets, who totaled five takeaways in that 31-10 victory, doubled their interception total for the year last week as both former Browns DB Buster Skrine and S Marcus Gilchrist came up with picks.
Believeland: It's certainly a good time to be a Cleveland sports fan. LeBron James returned to Northeast Ohio and delivered an NBA title as the Cavaliers raised their championship banner and received their 6.5 carat rings this week. The Indians jumped to a one-game lead over the Cubs in the World Series and Cleveland is officially rocking. But the Browns, who were 3-13, last year, are the NFL's only winless team heading into Week 8.
"We worry about our own record. Ours isn't too glowing right now.," said Jets head coach Todd Bowles.