The Cleveland Browns are now 4-1 after a convincing win over the Indianapolis Colts, 32-23, at First Energy Stadium. However, the team is far from perfect and that is clear to all regardless of a die-hard fan or stuck-up analyst status. Sure, we’ll take a start like this compared to our usual football teams here in Cleveland, but if the ultimate goal is a Super Bowl…some moves and adjustments need to be made.
Let’s start with the secondary and talk about how big an issue that is for the Browns. At third-worst in the league allowing 313.8 passing yards a game; it’s clear something must change. Opposing quarterbacks just seem to have the ability to toss the ball up and have a receiver make a play against the secondary. The only saving grace is DE Myles Garrett and company on that line putting pressure on said quarterbacks to stop the bleeding.
Getting rid of players such as S Andrew Sendejo, a man that does a great job of clogging Twitter feeds with complaints each game, and finding formidable replacements could help the Browns stop the pass. Now, the Browns only allow 87 rushing yards a game and it’s, in part, because teams know the pass is there plus the aforementioned line.
Shifting gears and one has to look at quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The guy his the ability to make some amazing throws that end with a touchdown, yet the next drive finishes with a completely terrible throw right into the hands of the opposition. This has to improve if the Browns want to actually contend. Sure, every quarterback throws interceptions, but these are simply horrific throws that are gift-wrapped. Baker is the man and in no way is this to deny that, but there has to be some improvement with the decision making. Unless he wants to be compared to Brady Quinn, Charlie Frye, Tim Couch, etc. over time. It’s a long list…
The Browns unfortunately lost RB Nick Chubb due to a MCL sprain in the Cowboys game. He is placed on IR and out at least a month. Luckily, backups RB Kareem Hunt and RB D’Ernest Johnson are very good replacements to one of the best in the league. Against the Colts, the team combined for 33 rushes and 124 total rushing yards. That is certainly a solid outing minus Chubb continuing the style of play that has worked the entire season. It relieves some of the pressure off of Baker in an attempt to eliminate some of those picks.
Overall, it’s so nice to have a team that actually isn’t a laughingstock of the league and is in contention with the best of them. However, as the season progresses, there is always room for improvement and the Browns can get even better. The secondary, quarterback’s decision making, continuance to fill the running back slot are some of the keys to a season that does have the potential to be a successful one. Head coach Kevin Stefanski is certainly capable of running the show and is much better in comparison to some of the past “leaders” of this team.
Ultimately, the Browns are going to have to prove it against some of the best of them. This Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh against the undefeated Steelers is certainly one of those games. A win at Heinz Field and filling those gaps in the aforementioned areas…Well, we can start to whisper the P WORD!