How the Browns Can Reach the Playoffs
Last week, when Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon was spending the day with ESPN, he predicted a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance. This is quite a bold statement, but it isn’t an impossible task to accomplish. Certain things must happen to transform this prediction into reality.
Not only do the Browns need to find some sense of stability, but they must change their former ways in order for this to happen. Think of the countless games Cleveland could have won if they played better football, execution is everything and frequently our team couldn’t perform. The Browns need to cut back on turnovers while simultaneously creating more on defense.
As a matter of fact, the Miami game is a prime example of this. Granted that the game was in the hands of former Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, but he threw three interceptions. Our defense wasn’t horrible, but they only created one turnover. Hopefully the rough hitting safety, Donte Whitner, will fix that problem by causing more fumbles sparking turnover opportunities.
In addition to improving our turnover ratio, we need to just go out and score points. Not saying that scoring touchdowns is an easy task, but I can name five winnable games if we didn’t spoil our opportunities. These games include both Steelers games, games in Kansas City and New York, as well as losing in Baltimore when Cleveland failed to score more than six points.
Despite not being able to rack up points, that is not always the problem. Cleveland’s defense needs to play consistently throughout a whole football game. This being said, it is imperative that the Browns hold onto the second half lead and, more importantly, fourth quarter leads.
A loss to Detroit occurred due to a squandered 17-7 lead at halftime created by surrendering 14 fourth quarter points. I still blame the officiating in our loss to New England, but, for argument’s sake, we allowed 16 points late in the game. There were two more occurrences when Cleveland was ahead and couldn’t hold on, giving up 12 points to Jacksonville and a whopping 21 to the Chicago Bears.
Although our defense is occasionally unreliable, I believe the problem has been addressed, beginning with the hiring of Mike Pettine, followed by the promotion of Ray Farmer. Signing key additions, like Whitner and Karlos Dansby, was the next step to improve and solidify our defense. We were acceptable overall, but we need to be better in clutch moments. When a stop is needed, Cleveland must execute to cease any momentum our opponent will try to possess.
Besides some defensive woes, Cleveland must doctor up some offensive problems too. Now that Kyle Shanahan and Ben Tate are paired together in brown and orange, we can finally establish a long awaited run game, which we so desperately missed last year. Our next assignment is to build an offensive line to join Joe Thomas, Paul McQuistan, and Alex Mack, whose contract needs to be extended. This setback will likely be addressed through the next month’s draft.
Not to mention, Cleveland will also use the draft to ameliorate the quarterback position by finding their future leader. Hopefully, they get the perfect picture due to the urgency to turn this franchise around. The Cleveland Browns need a baller, a man to alter a losing culture and mold this club into a winner.
In order to reach the playoffs, Cleveland must draft a quarterback to compete with Brian Hoyer. Additionally, they must have the ability to put points on the board while preventing opposing teams from scoring at will. A great deal must go right for a playoff run, but I believe that Cleveland is taking the necessary steps to shock the football nation.
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