When the Browns schedule was first announced, most fans said they would be happy if the Browns record was 2-2. I thought they could be 3-1 only because the game is Pittsburg is never a given. I also hated the week five bye week. However, because of some disturbing trends, now I feel like it’s the bye came at the perfect time. Turnovers, especially fumbles, poor offensive line play, drive-killing penalties and some questionable play-calling have consumed the team. Remember when the Browns kicker was the fans’ biggest worry? Good times. What are the solutions?

All these trends fall on the responsibility of the coaching staff. Emphasis has to be placed on ball security. An average to bad team would be 0-4 or 1-3 with all these fumbles. The talent is there so all the trends can be corrected. Penalties will happen in a game, it’s the timing of the penalties that bothers me, as well as who is committing them. Team leaders and Pro Bowl-caliber players. As for the offensive line, the players need to be more responsible for their own actions and know their responsibilities.

Yes, this team has suffered from some bad luck. The sudden rainstorm in game one, the Nick Chubb injury in game two and the injury to Deshaun Watson in game four. Great teams find a way to overcome obstacles. Better teaching in practice will help with the first three. My problem with the play calling is Nick Chubb is no longer playing, so let’s adjust the play calling. The Browns appeared to do that for the Tennessee game. Cleveland still didn’t run the ball very well, but they did call the right pass plays at the right time. Watson completed 81% of his passes proving it worked.

So how do the Browns adjust?

Attacking the perimeters of the opposing defense with the run game was working. If the Browns are going to go with running back by committee, then Kareem Hunt and Pierre Strong have to get more opportunities. I’m not saying to split the carries three ways, get Hunt and Strong more involved, especially Strong. The Browns are sixth in yardage gained when using the run-pass-option. However, they are in the bottom five in RPO usage. More RPO. Watson showed against the Titans it can work. Newsflash, Elijah Moore is a wide receiver, use him as one. Line him up in the slot and sometimes out wide. Skip the trick plays from the backfield. He’s the number one receiver in the NFL after four weeks of getting separating from the defender. Get the ball more to tight end David Njoku. He has eighteen catches on nineteen targets. Deshaun Watson is in the top five in completing passes of twenty-plus yards and is at his best when throwing over-the-shoulder passes. More deep routes by Donovan People-Jones and Marguise Goodwin. You don’t have to throw the ball fifty yards, twenty to thirty will do the trick. This would help open up the running game. The most important thing is let Dashaun Watson be Deshaun Watson. We saw that for three-quarters of the Titans game.

Winning the AFC North can still be achieved only because Pittsburgh and Cincinnati aren’t playing well. This weekend Baltimore travels to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati travels to Arizona. We’ll find out how good the Ravens are or how bad the Steelers are and we’ll find out if the Bengals are as bad as they look. As for the Browns, can they beat the 49ers? It’s been a very weird first four weeks in the league, where any team can beat any other team at any time. Let’s hope the Browns come out of the bye with a sense of purpose.

 

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