Grab your favorite snack food and beverage.
It’s Browns and Jets on Monday Night Football, but the expected matchup featuring young quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield lost some hype last week when Darnold contracted mono.
Really, all of the Jets’ ailments and injuries — no C.J. Mosley or Quinnen Williams either — took some juice away. But there still are plenty of stars, plenty of big personalities and plenty of players and coaches looking for revenge, redemption or to rub someone’s nose in the dirt.
Odell Beckham Jr. and Gregg Williams, please stand up.
Beckham’s return to MetLife Stadium would be enough to garner some extra interest, but last week, the former Giant accused Gregg Williams of directing his players to take out Beckham in a preseason game when Williams was the Browns’ defensive coordinator. Williams, now the Jets’ defensive coordinator, threw gas on this fire when he responded, “Odell who?” and said he doesn’t think Beckham is a dynamic receiver.
If that isn’t enough, Williams was the Browns’ interim coach last year and wanted the job full-time after going 5-3. But they relieved him of his duties and named Freddie Kitchens — Mayfield’s choice — as head coach.
“There’s so many storylines out there,” Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “It’s just going to be an awesome game to watch.”
Side note: This could be ugly for the Jets. But there are more storylines.
Browns receiver Jarvis Landry played for Adam Gase in Miami, and Gase admitted that their “relationship fractured at some point.” When Miami ultimately traded Landry to Cleveland, the receiver said Gase did it on purpose. Landry said Gase would threaten to trade players to Cleveland, which until recently was NFL hell. Gase said this past week that he did it once in a joking fashion, and Landry responded by saying, “It wasn’t no one-time joke.”
There will be plenty of players and people looking at this as a statement game, Jenkins said, because it’s Monday Night Football, because both teams lost last week and because of all the other drama between these two teams.
The heavily undermanned Jets, led by backup quarterback Trevor Siemian, will need to play a near-perfect game on both sides of the ball. Yes, the Browns scored only 13 points in the opener, but they’re expected to have a high-powered offense, one that wants to take down Williams’ defense.
“It’s like going against a created team on Madden,” Jenkins said. “They have good guys at every position and there’s no drop-off in talent. They’re a created team in All-Madden.”
After ending last season strongly, the Browns were viewed as a team on the rise and a popular pick to make a deep playoff run with Mayfield, Landry, running back Nick Chubb, defensive end Myles Garrett and cornerback Denzel Ward. Then they traded for Beckham,
which made Jenkins think, “Oh, my gosh, this team is going to go to the playoffs.”
This will be a huge challenge for the Jets, and the defense has said it will have Williams’ back.
“He has a chip on his shoulder about this game,” safety Jamal Adams said. “We’re going to definitely go out there and play for him. He’s going to be in the back of our mind. I know he’s going to be riled up. That’s my guy. He’s going to be ready to go. We all are.”
Mosley is a huge loss on defense, as Darnold is on offense. Siemian will make his first NFL start since Dec. 14, 2017. This could be a game in which the Jets rely heavily on Le’Veon Bell and Ty Montgomery, who played only five snaps last week.
Having to turn to his backup quarterback is something Gase has experienced plenty. In three seasons as Miami’s coach, he had four different quarterbacks start at least five games. Ryan Tannehill, the No. 1 QB, missed half the regular-season games Gase coached.
Gase feels bad for Darnold, but not for himself.
“Maybe I’m messed up,” he said. “I’m like, ‘Great, let’s go. Trevor is up. Let’s go find a way to win the game.’ ”