Confidence can be a good thing for a rookie in the NFL. Overconfidence, however, can have the opposite effect.
Only time will tell if Cleveland Browns rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is self-aware or not, but leading up to his team’s opening game against the K.C. Chiefs, the linebacker sounds like a young player unphased by the idea of going head to head with the reigning AFC champs and, particularly, the best tight end in the game today in Travis Kelce.
The Browns visit Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Chiefs on Sunday in a Week 1 matchup that’s as anticipated as any other opening game. The Browns are looking to put the past behind them by getting revenge on the Chiefs, the very team that ousted them from the 2020 postseason. Given the young roster that’s still coming together, the Browns could signal a major step forward by taking out the Chiefs on their home turf.
Owusu-Koramoah is the sort of young player imported by Cleveland this offseason to help them with this very task. In order to climb to the next level of the conference, the Browns have to be able to slow the Chiefs’ offensive attack. Hence the reason why they invested a first-round pick in Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome and a second-round pick in Owusu-Koramoah.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah says he will be “ready” for his opening game against Travis Kelce.
Owusu-Koramoah spoke to reporters following practice on Monday and said he’s “ready” for the matchup and specifically that he’s been studying Kelce because he knows his assignment. Kelce in particular was a nightmare matchup for Cleveland’s defense last time around to the tune of 8 catches on 10 targets for 109 receiving yards and 1 touchdown.
"“A high-rated guy,” Owusu-Koramoah said. “It is not foreign to me to have some type of matchup as such. Watched a lot of film and had to watch a lot of film to be able to be ready for a guy who is as talented as him. We will be ready. I will be ready. As a team, we are looking forward to game planning correctly.”"
Last winter’s playoff loss wasn’t the first time that Kelce had pretty much had his way with the Browns defense. In three career games, Kelce has caught 21 passes for 251 yards and 4 touchdowns. Overall since Kelce first joined the Chiefs in 2013 (along with Andy Reid), the Chiefs are 4-0 against the Browns. (Kelce missed his entire rookie season, and thus the first scheduled matchup between these teams, due to injury.)
While Kelce comes with all the acclaim here as a likely future Hall of Fame player, Owusu-Koramoah is not without fanfare himself. Draft analysts were baffled when he slid out of the first round and Browns execs were ecstatic with their ability to grab the Notre Dame product in the second round at No. 52 overall. During his college career, JOK was praised for his coverage skills, athleticism, and versatility.