Browns

When “Get Right” Goes Wrong: Cleveland Browns Week 3 Winners and Losers

Duke Johnson Touchdown Browns Colts
Associated Press

A get-right game for two teams often leads to the less-fortunate one reacting not so favorably to the outcome. For the Cleveland Browns, you have a team that came out in Week 1, making some believe they could hang with a perennial playoff contender, only to regress week-over-week and falling 0-3 to a team starting a quarterback whom they just added weeks earlier. Are they the worst team in football? Tough to argue that the Bears, Bills, Jets, or Colts are worse given that each of them won their Week 3 contests. Are the 49ers worse? They lost by two on the road and appear to have a handful of play makers. Would you rather be the Browns or Jaguars, knowing that the latter beat the Baltimore Ravens to the tune of 44-7, the very same Ravens team which you fell to by two touchdowns.

This was supposed to be the winnable stretch for the Browns, with some fans thinking Cleveland would be heading into Week 6 with a 3-2 record. Now, after what transpired in Week 3, fans are left wondering if they’re not staring down the barrel of an 0-5 start.

WINNER: DeShone Kizer

One look at the box score and it may not look as if DeShone Kizer is improving, but let’s look at the details a bit. Through Weeks 1 and 2, Kizer’s average time to throw was a league-worst 3.19 seconds with his time before being sacked clocked at 4.43 seconds. In Week 3, Kizer held on to the ball, still ranking among the worst in the league, but got rid of it quicker than Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, and Tyrod Taylor, reducing his time before throw to 3.04 seconds while increasing his time before sack to 4.8. Look: No rookie quarterback should be asked to throw the ball 47 times while the head coach calls a total of 14 rushes for running backs. Only Russell Wilson (49) and Aaron Rodgers (51) threw more passes in Week 3 to put things in perspective. On paper, Kizer’s completion percentage looks abysmal at 22-of-47. Strip out the Hail Mary to end the game and add in the eight (eight!) dropped passes, and suddenly you’re looking at an adjusted completion percentage of 30-of-46—a less-than-ideal number, but one that shows things may have not been all that bad.

Kudos to Kizer for taking the high road postgame when asked about the insane amount of dropped passes, but deep down, the kid has to know that he’s not exaclty getting a fair crack at assessment through three weeks given the lack of weapons coupled with the ridiculous tilt toward passing plays over run plays being called by his head coach. More kudos to the kid for not giving up, earning key yardage with his legs, and delivering tough passes to guys like Kenny Britt who had failed him throughout the prior three quarters.

LOSER: Hue Jackson

So about that play calling. Not only were the pass plays far outweighing the run plays, but even some of the pass plays were questionable. One specific sack Kizer was forced to take earned some commentary from the booth saying “no one was open downfield,” though one look shows that all of the routes were five-yard curls or outs that were run with the defense sitting back because it was 3rd-and-8. Let’s do the kid some favors here, Hue.

WINNER: Duke Johnson Jr.

Clearly the team’s biggest weapon through three weeks, Johnson mysteriously received just eight touches throughout the entire game. For more perspective, here are other Swiss Army Knife-like weapons and their usage in Week 3: Christian McCaffrey (four carries, 11 targets, nine catches), Tarik Cohen (12 carries, four targets, four catches), Chris Thompson (eight carries, seven targets, six catches)… You get the idea. If there’s any silver lining, its that this kid continues to make the most out of his limited opportunities.

LOSER: Sashi Brown

Along those lines, if Duke Johnson is the only weapon to consistently perform on offense, the front office is not doing their job. Sure, Corey Coleman is hurt, but a rookie quarterback can’t be expected to succeed when his most consistent pass catcher is tight end Seth DeValve.

WINNER: Joe Thomas

Joe Thomas played every, single offensive snap (once again) and did not surrender a single, solitary pressure from the left side (through 52 pass-blocking snaps) while also grading out as the team’s best run blocker.1 On the season, Thomas has taken 143 pass-blocking snaps and has allowed just one hit and one hurry. Ho hum.

LOSERS: Entire Browns Receiving Corps not named Jordan Leslie

Big ups to Jordan Leslie for being this week’s Browns receiver who gets signed during the week and puts up a highlight reel play, but the rest of the receiving corps is simply not NFL caliber.

WINNER: Jason McCourty

Fun Fact: Jason McCourty led the defensive unit out of the tunnel this week. Not only has the kid continued to perform well for the Browns, but he appears to have taken on a bit of a leadership role. He’s clearly become the team’s most consistent defensive back (which isn’t the highest of bars, but still…) and looks like a big win for the team’s front office. Now just get him some help.

LOSER: Jamar Taylor

After showing up as one of the team’s best defensive players a season ago, Taylor has been one of its worse through three weeks. Not helping his getting abused in coverage (which happens when you’re defending the opposition’s top receiver) is post-reception loafing like what went down on this T.Y. Hilton touchdown. Pay special attention to No. 21.

WINNERS: Danny Shelton and Jamie Meder

Here’s PFF on Danny Shelton:

Shelton ate up the middle of the field on Sunday, earning an 88.7 run-defense grade from his spot in the defensive interior. Shelton tallied five run stops on 19 run defense snaps; he had just one run stop on 32 run defense snaps in the first two weeks. Shelton had the second-most run stops among all defensive tackles last season, look for more weeks like this one moving forward.

So take what was just said above and add in that Meder outscored Shelton in PFF metrics for the game and you have a hell of an afternoon from the Browns’ interior line.

LOSERS: Gregg Williams and Jabrill Peppers

So, this whole Peppers 25 yards off of the line of scrimmage thing isn’t working. I could write an entire passage on how it was inexcusable to not have a QB spy on Jacoby Brisset in the red zone (especially as I called for this exact thing in our round table), but I’ll focus more on leaving your rookie strong safety hung out to dry. Yes, Peppers needs to take a better angle here. And yes, fair catching that punt without any timeouts left in the fourth quarter was a horrible decision, but something needs to be done about this defensive scheme, especially if it’s *still* not going to stop the big plays from happening.

Yeesh.

WINNER: This Browns Fan

We are all this man.

https://twitter.com/gifdsports/status/912018295443922944/

And now, the fans:

  1. According to PFF. []

  • RGB

    LOSER: Williams. I’m not sure what he’s expecting from Peppers, but he’s got a rookie playing a position that nobody’s seen, or even heard of before.

  • mgbode

    Also, on Kizer, the interceptions happened later in the game when he appeared to feel a need to ‘will’ the Browns back into the game. I’m not for a QB forcing the issue all the time, but when things get desperate, I don’t mind a little “Why Not” passing to go on. Especially when your HC is putting it all on your shoulders anyway.

  • MartyDaVille

    WINNER: NONEXISTENT RUNNING GAME. Together the Crow and the Duke averaged 4-plus yards per carry.

    LOSER: HUE. His play-calling suggests that he’s calling plays for the players he wishes he had instead of the players he has. Common, incurable flaw that affects all “system guys.”

    LOSER: KIZER. He’s showing signs of Brady Quinn Disease in that he can’t lead guys over the middle. He frequently throws behind them, which causes pop-up deflections, which ain’t good in the middle of the field. The Browns never could coach that out of Quinn.

    BIGGEST LOSER OF ALL: PROGRESS. Showing progress was supposed to be the whole point of this season. Progress hasn’t walked through that door the past two weeks.

    WINNER: SASHI. The Colts didn’t lay a hand on our cap space. You just
    know he does all his shopping at Wal-Mart and Dollar General.

  • Harv

    WINNER: Kizer: for his God-given arm and upbringing which helps a 21 year old take so much heat that others should share. Hue bleats about the media unfairness to him; how ’bout Hue’s unfairness? [12 hand-offs the entire game]. Or Sashi/Brown/Podesta’s unfairness? [A roster schemed to play him immediately, and the only route runner a well-paid free agent with a rep for taking seasons off].

    LOSER: Me, for falling for this year’s Winner of the Press Conference. Three games in and so far he’s just Rob Ryan in designer specs. If you play your angel safety out of camera range and still give up 7 plays of 20+ yards to a horrible team with an inexperienced QB, if your newly paid starting corner is already so unafraid of you that he freaky-deaks pursuit when the game is still in doubt, hoo-boy. Watch the developing Hue-Gregg dynamic, folks. One’s fearful of getting fired again, one’s coaching for redemption. If things don’t look brighter soon they’ll either find a common enemy or turn on each other because they both have too much on the line.

    WINNERS: Kenny Britt/Terelle Pryor: Kenny, for setting the give-a-crap bar so low we say “hey! He got open and caught it!” Terelle, because this fetid pile of receivers is so incompetent we forget all his issues missing assignments, not being where he is supposed to be, and pretend that if ONLY he were here on a nice big contract he would have decided to be where a 21 year old is being trained to look. Around these parts Terelle is Receiver Jesus.

    [Speaking of which, what IS Whitehurst doing?

    WiNNER? This year’s roster against last year’s. I think concussed, crazy Josh would take it.

  • akzipper

    Basically the defense is playing a man short for 90% of the game with Peppers dropped back so far.

    It’s completely inexcusable to make zero effort to improve the WRs on this team and let our best guy from 2016 walk. Not to mention the Browns best WR of all time has been suspended for the past 3 seasons. Can’t wait to see the reaction when the Browns trade Gordon the second he is reinstated.

  • RGB

    Receiver Jesus’ stats so far with a real-ish QB the the helm: 10 catches, 116 yards, 0 TDs.
    Can I get a witness!

  • BenRM

    None of this comes as any surprise, but here we go…

    LOSER: Hue Jackson. RUN THE MF GD FOOTBALL, you IDIOT. The best drive of the game included multiple runs and I formations. What is so hard to understand about this? You should never EVER make a rookie throw this many passes. Even one as promising as Kizer.

    LOSER: Greggggg. WTF is this defense? You can’t win games by playing 10 on 11. This “angel” position is stupid. You are not smarter than the collective history of football. You gave it a shot. It failed spectacularly. Play real defense.

    LOSER: Peppers. Dude, I get it. You’re playing a stupid position. But at least play it well, okay? Also, I don’t like you because you played at Michigan!!!! (Just kidding, I don’t like you because you appear to suck right now.)

    LOSER: 8 drops? 8 DROPS!/1!?!?1/ Sahsi can go die in a hole. Ray Farmer can go die in a hole.

    LOSER: Al Saunders. Guess what, Al? Pick routes don’t mean tackling the other player.

    WINNERS: Deshone (kind of…sort of), Duke, and Leslie. Everyone else is fired.

  • BenRM

    End of game hail mary’s shouldn’t count as interceptions.

  • Casual_Kenny_Reigns

    What is the point of starting a rookie QB if you’re not going to support him with a run game or competent receivers? Hue’s just getting him killed and teaching him how to make bad reads under pressure.

    I’m more convinced then ever this rebuild is only about fielding the cheapest team ever.

  • RGB

    MONEYBALL!

    http://imgur.com/xqXGCJa.gif

    It’s all about the cap-space, baby!

  • Sam Gold
  • Sam Gold

    “LOSER: Hue Jackson. RUN THE MF GD FOOTBALL, you IDIOT.”

    1000 recs to you sir.

  • BenRM

    Thanks. I just….I can’t…what is happening in that man’s brain?

  • Chris

    LOSER: Myles “Crappy QB Year” Garrett. We’re three weeks into the career of the NFL version of socks-for-Christmas and he has yet to record a single tackle, QB hurry, or any measurable stat whatsoever.

    WINNER: Low Expectations.

  • Chris

    Jets, Bills, and Bears all won. Bengals will have at least two wins this year. Top 2 pick, here we come!

  • Shadow_play

    Maybe when Garrett returns the Defense will get the shot in the arm it needs…Maybe Gordon will get reinstated and someone on this team will be able to catch the ball…Maybe Hue will decide to, oh I don’ know, try to run the ball…Every week my 4-12 preseason prediction looks terrible. I don’t want to bring up parades, but if we can’t beat the bad Bengals at home next week then I think it’s time to start talking about parades.

  • Harv

    yeah, but how ’bout them ’16 draft picks? Per apologists, the undersized first rounder really is explosive but – dang it! – just can’t show it because he’s always hurt, or is still learning something called routes, or something. The top of second rounder can’t be expected to make any impact until – dang it! – this year’s first rounder gets healthy. The third rounder can run very very fast for a defensive end and fills the stat sheet with sacks after the QB trips, but still must learn an effective pass-rushing move because he isn’t built to play the run. The other 3rd rounder? Trust me. But hey, Shon Coleman is starting.

  • jpftribe

    I have abruptly jumped off the Hue bandwagon. Two things did it:
    – Immediately after the first Devalve OPI, Hue was so busy jawwing with the refs, there were 17 seconds left on the play clock when he started calling the play for the rook. Inexcusable anytime, especially so on third down.
    – Using your last TO with 9 minutes remaining, by choice, and eliminating replays is a colossal blunder. Refs did Hue a solid reversing the original call and giving Britt the TD. Initial signal was incomplete and if that stands, there is no review to reverse it.

    I’ll let Jake and Joe school me on play calling, but if you aren’t going to manage the game, and you aren’t going to hire an OC, then welcome to the Not For Long league.

  • BenRM

    Yup. I’m with you. Hue is blowing it.

  • jpftribe

    Fits perfectly. Smartest guy in the room.

  • jpftribe

    Would you trade Kessler and Kindred for Brissett? Because that is exactly what Sashi did.

    Four receivers, one chronically hurt and the other three can’t catch. At least Farmer didn’t even bother taking them.

  • RGB

    I wonder where PFF ranks Peppers among Angels.

  • mgbode

    Below Trout, Upton, and Simmons, but ahead of Pujols.

  • mgbode

    Kyle is mad you didn’t read his WWW last Thursday now (probably).

  • Harv

    the whole draft-a-speedster-with-bad-hands thing is so confusing. It’s like a baseball closer who throws very hard but gives up a ton of dingers … what’s the point? I just don’t think a Ricardo Louis has any better chance of developing reliable mitts than Weedon has of getting smarter.

  • Harv

    aah. Miss a day, miss a lot.

  • jpftribe

    And the one guy that makes a spectacular one handed catch on the first ball thrown to him was cut once already. I just don’t get this team.

  • mgbode

    It was an intriguing experiment drafting both Louis (athlete w/o great hands or routes) and Higgins (much less an athlete but great routes & hands).

  • mgbode

    Indeed – just humorous that good ole Charlie came back up in conversation so quickly.

  • JM85

    No winners for me this week. The defense is the loser for making a backup look like Peyton Manning.

  • scripty

    Respectfully, over the middle throws are tough for even veteran QBs. Quinn had the issue of poor touch (everything a bit too hard and his reads were too slow”. Something to watch, sure. Browns could help him by moving the pocket with designed rollouts though.

    I honestly think they don’t give too much concern and are happy to forcefeed him.

  • scripty

    Winners:
    Duke – said it before
    Kizer – being forcefed offense, gets team to line looking organized almost all the time
    Josh Gordon – WR scenario awful.
    Shelton – nice game

    Loser
    Burgess – woof
    Peppers – I hope he learned some hard lessons, the botched punt return was weak as the angles he took on Hilton

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