The Ravens have yielded 72 points in their last two games and a ridiculous 622 yards on the ground in their last three outings. Opposing backs are averaging 4.8 yards a carry during that time. The loss of future Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis and CB Lardarius Webb have certainly taken a toll.
Their struggles against the run bode well for Trent Richardson, who is coming off a career-high 122-yard performance in the win Sunday against San Diego. The offensive line is also playing well. The quintet has yielded just five sacks in the last five games.
The numbers warrant optimism, but Shurmur remains leery. He praised the Baltimore defense and warned that DE Terrell Suggs played well in the lopsided loss to Houston two weeks ago after his stunning rapid return.
"I thought [Suggs] played a good all-around game," Shurmur said. "I saw him being pretty active. He was chasing, batting down passes, making tackles, putting pressure on the quarterback, all the things that he does well."
Browns QB Brandon Weeden was sacked just once in the 23-16 loss to the Ravens in Week 4. Shurmur will take that performance again, but he still heaped praise on Baltimore's defense.
"I think they're outstanding," Shurmur said. "They've played against some pretty good offenses and I think they're going to be a challenge just based on who they have out there. I think they're an extremely good defense. It's dangerous when you start looking at numbers.
The addition of Suggs could increase those numbers. But Weeden believes the losses of Lewis and Webb may be too much to overcome.
"Ray is the emotional, vocal leader of that defense," he said. "He's unbelievable. They have to be missing him. And Webb is a heck of a player who had been playing at a very, very high level."
Suggs will be matched up against Browns All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas in what is always an intriguing battle.
DT Phil Taylor ready for action: Browns second-year DT Phil Taylor has been recovering from pectoral surgery since mid-May. He announced Wednesday he will play Sunday against the Ravens.
Taylor returned to practice last week, but needed more time to prepare for game action.
"Last week was for knocking off the cobwebs," he said.
He doesn't expect to start, but is planning to be in the rotation along with rookies Billy Winn and John Hughes. Fellow starting T Ahtyba Rubin did not practice on Wednesday after re-injuring his calf the previous week in Indianapolis. His status for this Sunday remains up in the air.
Taylor did not speak in awe when asked about the showdown against Ravens superback Ray Rice.
"It's just a name," he said. "They got Ray Rice, we got Trent Richardson. I don't care."
Taylor has taken the roster spot vacated by DE Emmanuel Stephens, who is out for the year with a neck injury.
"Thanks, Haloti," he said. "He's a real good player himself."
The comment drew a chuckle or two from the media. After all, Ngata has been first-team All-Pro the last two seasons.
Not getting it done on 3rd and 1: Injuries and inexperience have contributed to inconsistency for Richardson. He has been particularly disappointing on 3rd and 1 runs, converting just two of seven. But the blocking cannot escape some of the blame.
"We did a study on it and we'll keep our results to ourselves," Shurmur said. "You need to execute at a very high percentage for one yard. We've had a combination of things that have happened to us and it's not always on the runner, but we need to enforce our will and get a yard. I'm aware of those numbers and we're working on it to get it better."
Stay dialed in on the Cleveland Browns on Twitter at @CBSBrowns throughout the season with on-site updates from CBSSports.com RapidReports correspondent Marty Gitlin.