The Broulis Beat Report takes a look at the Cleveland Browns as a whole. What are they doing that’s working and what’s not working?
What’s not working-
Let’s start with the most important position in football. The quarterback, Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield was always known in college as a very accurate passer. For his career, Mayfield has a 61.7 percent completion rate. I prefer that to be closer to 65 percent and I’m sure Baker does as well. Now, not all of this is Mayfield’s fault. His receivers aren’t helping with not catching the ball. Other times, Mayfield is throwing the ball into double coverage and forcing it, when he has a wide-open receiver elsewhere. As of today, Baker has thrown five touchdowns compared to eleven interceptions. That has to change. It’s not all Mayfield’s fault, but he has to get smarter with his decision making. Baker is a lot like Brett Favre and believes he can make every pass, but you have to stop putting your team and more specifically the defense in bad situations. I still feel Mayfield is the answer at quarterback and he will learn, but he has to stop looking for the big play and get rid of the ball to his check downs more.
The red zone has been a huge area of concern for Baker Mayfield. Again, some of this is his decision making and head coach Freddie Kitchens not using running back Nick Chubb enough.
The offensive line has been good at times and ok times. Very inconsistent. When I watch the Browns on offense, they are very inconsistent in pass-blocking. Now, when it comes to run blocking, running back Nick Chubb is having a great season, and he constantly thanks his linemen up front. I’m still confused why Cleveland doesn’t go with their strength more often, as running the ball has been their best weapon. Nick Chubb is a top-five running back and should be featured more than he has been. The offensive line isn’t helping Mayfield out and that is another reason why Mayfield could be struggling when it comes to his decision making.
The Cleveland Browns are allowing 154 yards a game on the ground. That ranks them 29th in the NFL. Too many times opposing team backs are getting past the defensive line and that’s when they start dealing with smaller defenders and running backs eyes get big when they see that. I would like to see Cleveland move up into the top 15.
As much as I hate to bring this into the conversation, the NFL has a major league problem with the officials, but since I’m talking about the Browns, the calls have been down right awful. The blind-sided block on WR Jarvis Landry was terrible and trust me, there are others, but the NFL has to get this problem corrected. It’s changing the out-comes of games whether people want to agree with me or not.
Even though cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams have missed multiple games each, TJ Carrie and Terrance Mitchell have done a good job of limiting opposing teams passing offenses from really racking up the passing yards. The Browns’ secondary ranks 8th at 219 yards a game. That could be a lot worse.
Cleveland has 19 sacks so far this season. That ranks them 4th in the NFL. Only Pittsburgh, New England and Carolina have more. Defensive end Myles Garrett is responsible for nine of those. While I feel Olivier Vernon hasn’t had a huge impact for Cleveland, I think he has been more of a help then former defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, who is now in Kansas City.
Punter Jamie Gillan has been a very bright spot for the Browns. Gillan has pinned the ball inside the opponents 20 sixteen times this season. Only Thomas Morstead (17 times) and Brett Kern (23 times) have done that more. Aside from the one blocked punt against Seattle, Gillan has been huge for Cleveland.
When it comes to field goals and PAT’s, Austin Seibert has been doing good. Seibert is 8 for 8 in field goals. As for the point after, Seibert has only missed two. Not bad for a rookie.
The special teams, in general, has been great for Cleveland. A lot of credit should be given to special team’s coach Mike Priefer. His attention to detail has helped the Browns special teams rise up the rankings.
Nick Chubb has been a top five, arguably top three back, in the NFL. Chubb is already at 607 yards this season. That’s second behind Christian McCaffrey. When it comes to yards per game, Chubb is averaging 101 yards and that is only second behind Christian McCaffrey. Imagine if the Browns used him more.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick Broulis