What did you expect from week one from the Cleveland Browns? Many thoughts from Sunday’s rough start.
Welcome back to the Broulis Beat Report everyone as I have a lot on my mind regarding the Browns and what was supposed to be a football game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Truth is, I expected this out of the Browns. And if anyone has been watching the Browns long enough, should you really be surprised? If you were, you haven’t been watching Cleveland football long enough. Do you know that it’s been since 2004 since the Browns have won a season opener? If you don’t think that’s embarrassing or terrible then I don’t know what to tell you.
I wrote about head coach Kevin Stefanski getting a free year if you will due to the pandemic. I still stand firm to that. Stefanski is a first-year head coach and didn’t get any preseason games to see what his offense looked like. I’m not saying he would show anything on offense, but preseason is about getting your starters as many reps together as possible. Yes, they get to see what fourth and fifth stringers will and will not make the team, but with a new system, these starters needed the preseason games. The one main advantage the Ravens had over Cleveland was most of their team from last year, was returning this year. Same system, coaches, all the important stuff. Here is my one problem with that. Just because Cleveland didn’t get an off-season, doesn’t change your effort, energy, execution and focus. You can still execute your plays. Knowing how to block, kick, throw and hold onto the ball are the basics. The Browns didn’t do much of the fundamentals yesterday.
When you watch Baltimore, what do you see? A team that has a game plan and executes it. Even if you know what they’re doing. Everyone in the NFL knows the Ravens want to run the ball. What did the Ravens do yesterday? They established the run. That naturally opened up the passing game. They did a great job of mixing everything up. All because they stuck to their game plan. Cleveland had success early running the ball, then they stopped and starting throwing the ball to Jarvis Landry, what seemed like 100 times in a row, then started forcing the ball to wide receiver Odell Beckham. I didn’t like that all.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield went 21-39 for 189 yards, one touch down and one interception. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson went 20-25 for 275 yards and 3 touch downs. Jackson was far more efficient, but Baltimore wasn’t game planning for Jackson to throw the ball a lot. What the Ravens planned for Jackson, is what I want to see the Browns plan for Mayfield. Throw less, run the ball more.
I applaud the Browns releasing kicker Austin Seibert after yesterday’s performance. As a kicker, you do one thing during the game and practice, that’s kick the ball. They are not asked to do anything hard like learning defense, blocking or anything like that. Kick the ball. I really liked that coach Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry didn’t wait long to let him go.
I’m tired of Odell Beckham doing nothing for this team and then complaining on the sidelines. It would be great if he knew how to catch to easiest of passes like he catches the most difficult ones. I still stand by my statement of trading him for draft picks or positions of need.
The defense looked bad. I’ll give them some slack with all the injuries and playing against one of the best offenses in the NFL. Every defense in the NFL is going to have problems defending the Ravens. I was disappointed in the lack of pass rush from the Browns defensive line. The run defense was terrible as I always expect it to be.
I’m not throwing in the towel on this season. I do expect this type of play from Cleveland for another four weeks at least. From everything I heard over the off-season, Kevin Stefanski’s offense is very complicated and takes a while to learn. I do, however, expect little improvements week by week and I expect more discipline. I expect almost no turnovers and fewer penalties.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick Broulis