Some random thoughts on the Cleveland Browns as we approach the end of the regular season, right here on the Broulis Beat Report.
What a difference a year makes for the Browns. The 10-4 record tells us this and the actual play on the field is also another indicator.
Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski is the coach of the year. Stefanski and his staff have helped turn around a franchise that has been mediocre at best since 1999. That only excludes a few seasons. This organization has never been this stable AND still had Browns fans believing that the future wasn’t being sacrificed as well.
Think about everything that Stefanski has gone up against since being hired. He had to bring in his own coaching staff, implement a new offense and learn all his players. All that, without being in person. I forgot to mention that he’s also a first-year head coach. This is truly amazing regardless of what their final record ends up and when their season ends.
Stefanski has brought much needed discipline, organization and accountability to this team. Cleveland isn’t being penalized nearly as much, they come out ready to play, they look more organized on the field and they have an identity.
Again, I cannot bring this up enough. Stefanski has done everything, while not being able to have a real off-season. And with the way things have gone lately, he’s still at a disadvantage, like other coaches, but in his first year.
Let’s talk about quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield did not look comfortable through week 8 of the season. Mayfield looked better gradually, but not like how he looked after the bye-week. The running game of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt really helped take a load off the Baker’s plate. Again, coach Stefanski did a great job of putting Baker in more positions to succeed than not.
The offensive line has been doing a great job of keeping Mayfield protected and creating holes for the RB’s to run through.
Mayfield is doing a much better job of going through his progressions and looking at more than one option when throwing the ball. He seems to be reading defenses much better and faster. Something else that I’ve noticed over the past four weeks or so, is Mayfield’s accuracy seems to be improving and he’s getting back to how he looked in college at Oklahoma.
I do feel that if there were time for another possession when Cleveland hosted the Ravens on Monday night football and loss, I think Cleveland would’ve won that game. Baker was on fire once Baltimore went up by two scores.
I’m not putting Mayfield in the top five quarterbacks in the NFL yet. I am putting him in the top 10. The more Baker plays, the more comfortable he gets in this offense.
What I love about everything that’s going on are a few things.
The first is, this organization finally has QUALITY stability and at the key positions both from a player standpoint and front office, for the first time since they return. The Cleveland Browns have been constantly changing and never having a firm direction, when rebuilding. This time already looks a lot different and they did this, again, with no real off-season.
The head coach is coming back. This time of year, we are usually talking about a couple of things and who will be the new head coach is one of them. Next year, Stefanski will be back and I’m pretty confident in saying that things will be so much better with this pandemic by March.
Most of the current players will be back and this time, they will know the system and know each other so much better.
The front office has a clear plan for the type of players they want to draft and it appears as though Stefanski and Browns general manager Andrew Berry are definitely on the same page.
Cleveland Browns fans should start to expect more now. This team is finally going in the right direction and it looks like it could be consistent.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick Broulis