Everybody grab a paper bag. Now, I want you to practice breathing in and out using deep breaths and a regular rhythm. This is going to be OK. We are going to make it through this season, and we will be that much stronger because of it.
The second week of the Browns’ 2016 season is in the books. Some of you may have large holes in your televisions. Others have adopted nihilism and can’t remember how to feel either joy or pain. Many are reveling in the loss and the thought of attaining the top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. You’re salivating over that strong-armed, mobile, accurate, indestructible savior who will don the orange and brown to lead our beloved franchise to the promised land.
Before we wander into that dream world, however, let’s take a peak at how the young fellas back here in the real world are fairing.
Previous Progress Reports: Week 1
It seems like the Browns’ ability to create pressure was tied solely to the hand of Carl Nassib, in spite of the fact that he did not register an official stat. When Nassib was in the game, the Browns were making life very tough on Joe Flacco. When Nassib came out of the game with a broken hand, that was it for the pressure.
Cleveland finished with zero sacks after only registering two sacks the week before. They did register five quarterback hits, but Flacco completed passes for first downs on two of those hits. One thing the Browns did well was get their hands on the football, as they tipped or deflected seven passes in the game. All in all, Joe Flacco was entirely too welcome in FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns probably should have just placed a welcome mat under center.
QB Hits: 5
Tackles for loss: 2
Passes Defensed: 7
Week 2 PRESSURE Grade: 1 (out of 5)
GETTING OFF THE FIELD
Everyone who saw the game knows where this one is going. The two interceptions from Joe Haden were lovely, and it felt fantastic watching a fully healthy Haden do his thing. However, the defense really struggled to get off the field on third down and that was probably the biggest reason for this loss. If we pretend that the Ravens were able to give the Browns a paper cut on that blocked extra point returned for two points, then the bleeding from the paper cut is what eventually killed the Browns. Every failure to stop the Ravens on third down was a failure to close the wound.1
Third Down Conversion Percentage: 62
Potential Takeaways: 2
Opponent Time of Possession: 30:59
Week 2 GETTING OFF THE FIELD Grade: 2
Hey everybody, I found Corey Coleman! He was hiding in the middle of three Ravens defensive backs. It was great to see Coleman find his legs and grab a 47-yard pass in the middle of a sea of Ravens, even if Patrick Murray did miss the resulting field goal. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson both had big runs in the first half that helped lead the Browns to touchdowns. The youngsters showed up in this game even if most of their teammates didn’t. Can we put a smile on Hue’s face this week?
Plays of 20-plus Yards: 4
Red Zone Conversion %: .5
Yards/Run Play: 6.3
Yards/Pass Plays: 6.7
Week 2 PLAYMAKERS Grade: 4
It’s only right to follow up our first smiling Hue face of the season with another angry Hue face. You were probably able to deduce that the protection on Sunday was reasonably horrible. Josh McCown does have a tendency to hold on to the ball too long, but even if he didn’t, we would be talking about him taking too many hits instead of being slaughtered. All of those hits resulted in a shoulder injury for McCown and a new starting quarterback for Browns fans. Cody Kessler, you ready for this?
Opponent Sacks: 3
Opponent QB Hits: 8
Opponent Tackles for Loss: 8
Week 2 PROTECTION Grade: 1
The offensive performers shined this week and there were some bright spots on defense for our young squad, but moving forward it would be nice to see our pass rushers have a bigger influence on the outcome of the game. We also need to see a better performance from our offensive line, otherwise Cody Kessler will be the third quarterback knocked out of the starring role.
We will continue to track these four factors for the rest of the season and provide a weekly update on where the Browns currently stand as a basis to understand if the process is indeed working. At this point I haven’t created a metric for the quarterback position because I was expecting we would see a lot of Josh McCown this season2, but if Kessler holds on to the starting job, that will be rectified.
I’m going to have to wash Hue’s mouth out with soap after this week.