There is something radically wrong with the Cleveland Browns offense. For all intents and purposes, the level of their scoring unit should have increased by leaps and bounds from a year ago. If nothing else, the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. should be vaulting us in the realm of another three to seven points a game from a year ago.
Yes, I am very well aware our offensive line needs an upgrade. However, it needed an upgrade last season and look at the wonders Baker worked from behind them then. Nevertheless, we only managed 13 points against an average Tennessee team, 23 points last week against the Jets which should have been a blowout and 13 points tonight against a tough but not invincible Rams defense.
So wherein lies the issue?
Nick Chubb hasn’t changed at all and that’s a great thing. There is not one fraction of this problem that rests with him. The same guy is calling plays as last season so that shouldn’t be the problem either, right? Let me get back to you on that. My knee-jerk reaction to this lies within the execution of our pass plays.
Does anyone not get that taking a page from the Patriots is a good thing? Seriously. Does anyone not understand that repeated short passes can be a great way to not only make your way downfield, but also demoralize the opposing defense?
Are the Browns coaches living in a bubble?
Nearly every time I see Baker drop back to pass, it would seem as if it’s for a deep ball and no receivers are open. There’s Baker, looking, side-stepping, looking, then nothing. By this time he’s held onto the ball for so long that the line has crumbled and #6 is off to the races. Maybe those short pass options are the way to go.
Let’s reference that play-calling again. We are not calling short passes. We are calling for a run play on 4th and 9. I don’t know if Freddie Kitchens is trying to reinvent himself or what, but the formula that was being utilized a year ago seemed to provide some pretty effective results. This year it’s a 180 with outcomes that tally 49 points in three games. Color me unimpressed.
Either something is up with Baker this year, because he has not looked like his 2018 form through the first three games, or the play-calling is the primary culprit. If it’s the latter, it needs to get fixed quickly. Kitchens is not throwing anyone off balance with this head-scratching nonsense. Calling for deep balls repeatedly and runs on 4th and 9 is something I used to do in Tecmo Bowl.
Unfortunately, this is real life we’re dealing with.
While the team’s overall target to moving deep in the playoffs is a work in progress, this current anemic mess with the offense cannot persist. It needs to be figured out and fast. The Browns face an unrelenting Baltimore team next week and that offense will eclipse the Browns’ should Cleveland receivers either not be able to get open, Baker cannot read the defense, or the head coach continues to call inopportune plays.
Is it one of those? Two of those? All of those? There has been little to no evolution in the Cleveland offense this season after three games, a stark contrast from how the defense opened the season. Figure it out, coach.
You’re in the hot seat now.