These Cleveland Browns are fun to watch and they ‘re fun to talk about in a new edition of the Broulis Beat Report.
The first thing I want to talk about is how disciplined this team seems to be. I’ve written before about how the Browns did a great job of racking up penalties last season. It seemed that every play resulted in a flag against Cleveland. From false starts, holding, offsides, you name it, the Browns did it last season. Yesterday in a 49-38 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland only committed 5 penalties for 40 yards. That’ll help a team in trying to win.
I give a lot of credit to head coach Kevin Stefanski on this. The team looks very prepared on the field and Stefanski talked about playing smart football during the offseason.
ODELL BECKHAM JR.
I will admit that I’ve been hoping the Browns would eventually trade Beckham. After yesterday, I was reminded as to why Cleveland traded for OBJ. He’s healthy and focused. This was Odell’s best game as a Brown. Odell finished with five catches for 81 yards and three touchdowns. The first was a trick play from Jarvis Landry to Beckham. The second was a nice slant and the third was a reverse in the fourth quarter at midfield. It helped saved a victory as Dallas was coming back strong.
THE OFFENSIVE LINE
You really can’t say enough about how well this offensive line is playing right now. I want to remind people that they had no offseason to gel and play together. Right now, they are playing like a top three offensive line. The Browns lead the NFL in rushing with 818 yards already. Baltimore is second with 643 yards. This is an area that Cleveland needs to finish atop or near the top in by seasons end.
Yesterday, running back Nick Chubb left the game early with a knee injury, but Cleveland didn’t abort their game plan nor did they miss a beat. So many Browns teams would’ve starting throwing the ball like crazy. I’m really glad Stefanski stuck with the game plan.
With Chubb down, who ended up leading Cleveland in rushing? D’Ernest Johnson of all people. Johnson ran the ball 13 times for 95 yards. This is Johnson’s second year in Cleveland and now, with this new scheme, he had a good game with no carries with the first team during the week. Kareem Hunt is battling a groin injury, but ran for two touchdowns. He’ll be the primary back for a while.
Once again, the offensive line did a great job with very few flags and more specifically, Jedrick Wills jr. played another great game. The rookie continues to play at a high level.
THE DEFENSIVE LINE
Myles Garrett is having a great start to his season. Forcing fumbles, stripping quarterbacks and now leading the NFL in sacks with five. Garrett seems to be around the football and quarterback a lot more. Fellow linemen Larry Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson are doing a nice job of getting their own pressure on the QB as well. Their ability to get good pressure on the quarterback as a unit so far, has forced bad throws.
TURNOVERS HAUNT……THE COWBOYS
Yes, this is an area that Cleveland usually struggles in, not the opposing team. The Cowboys turned the football over three times. Cleveland, none. This Browns defense is not good. They will bend a lot and miss assignments. There will be busted coverages and other miscues. What Cleveland is getting better at is forcing turnovers. Cleveland has four interceptions as a team which is 11th in the league. They have forced seven fumbles. Keep in mind, The Browns secondary isn’t the best. Far from it. This is how they will have to gauge their success on defense in 2020 from a secondary standpoint. It won’t be the number of yards they give up. Cleveland is going to give up a lot of yards this season. They’ll have to force turnovers and make teams settle for field goals.
Once again, the Browns quarterback wasn’t asked to do much. Mayfield went 18/30 for 165 yards, two touchdowns and the best part, ZERO INTERCEPTIONS. This is what Baker will need to do. Staying on the field and keeping the defense resting. The Browns seem to enjoy long drives and that also wears the defense down. Having a great running game also allows Mayfield time to learn the offense more and be more comfortable, knowing he doesn’t have to do everything.
FINAL THOUGHTS There are more thoughts in my mind, but this was a fun game and this team is starting click on offense. I don’t anticipate a lot from the defense this year, but yesterday’s win was a big one for Cleveland and they are now 3-1.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick Broulis