Heisman Trophy winners will likely take the field when the Cleveland Browns play host to the Tennesee Titans for their home opener Sunday. Backup quarterback Johnny Manziel has a good shot at making his first start of 2015 as Josh McCown continues to recover from a concussion suffered on the opening drive of the season-opening loss to the New York Jets.
There will be no doubt about the opposing signal-caller however. Marcus Mariota, the second overall pick of the draft, scorched the Buccaneers with four touchdown passes in his NFL debut. His perfect passer rating likely had many Browns fans second guessing the decision to not move up in the draft to take the former Oregon Duck.
With all of the attention undoubtedly be on the quarterbacks, here are three keys to the game for each team.
1. Unleash the read option
Mariota's four-touchdown performance in Week 1 was so efficient, the rookie quarterback barely had the chance to show what he can do when he pulls the ball down and runs. The Titans would benefit from letting him display his running skills, particularly against a Cleveland defense that gave up 152 yards on the ground last week.
2. Make Johnny Football feel the pressure
With Manziel likely to make his third career start, Tennessee needs to carry over its Week 1 defensive effort, which resulted in four sacks and three turnovers. Manziel demonstrated last week that while he's capable of the occasional explosive play, he also has a tendency to turn the ball over. The Titans need to again force Manziel into making mistakes.
3. Get Bishop Sankey involved again
Sankey ran for 74 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries last week. His continued production this week will help keep the Cleveland defense from keying on Mariota. It's unlikely Mariota will post a perfect passer rating once again, so a contribution from the running game will help diversify the offense.
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1. Limit the turnovers
Regardless of whom the quarterback is, the Browns don't have enough margin for error to turn the ball over five times like they did last week against the Jets. Taking care of the football needs to be the top priority for everyone on the offensive side of the ball. The Titans picked off Jameis Winston's first pass last week and took it to the house. They'll certainly be looking for rattle Manziel's cage.
2. Rush for more yards than they give pack
If taking care of the ball is the highest priority, discipline is a close second. The Browns were flagged 12 times for 109 yards against New York, five more yards than they gained on the ground. Take away the rushing yards by quarterbacks, and Cleveland's rushing attack picked up 46 yards on 20 carries. Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson and the offensive line all need to do a better job, or Browns fans might be wishing they didn't deal Terrance West to Tennessee.
3. Confuse and get after Mariota
Mariota didn't become the second-coming of Peyton Manning in one game. The Browns' defense needs to disguise coverages and blitzes to make the rookie's life difficult. If they can force him to get rid of the ball quicker than he would like, Joe Haden and his teammates in the secondary should be able to capitalize.