If you turned on the T.V. Monday Night with the channel set to ESPN, you did not get the 54-51 Rams vs. Chiefs game from November 11th of last season. Instead, flashing on primetime was Luke Falk and a spotty Browns offense that was reminiscent of the last time Cleveland was on Monday Night Football back on November 30 of 2015.
Alright, enough of the negative nelly. The Browns won and are 1-1 on the season. Austin Seibert was perfect and Myles Garrett was imperfectly ferocious. Because the Jets couldn’t move the chains, it means I will with my latest Moving the Chains column following the Browns 23-3 win over the Jets.
Is the offense just trying to find a rhythm or playing the wrong music?
Two of the Jets top defenders, C.J. Mosely and Quinnen Williams, were sidelined with injuries and the Browns had their regular cast of characters healthy and playing together for two consecutive weeks. The offense looked better but they certainly did not win an Oscar with their performance.
Without an 89-yard touchdown reception from Odell Beckham Jr., the Browns would have only won 16-3, Baker Mayfield would have only thrown for 236 yards on 34 pass attempts with only 53% of his passes completed. Add the interception too.
Mayfield was not perfect. He missed a few easy ones and made us hold our breath on the hard ones (most of the time into double coverage) — there were plenty of those too. Judging by the eye test, Mayfield is holding onto the ball too long, looks uneasy in the pocket, and taking unnecessary shots; All of which were uncharacteristic from his rookie season.
A new offensive coordinator and star wide receiver means there surely will be an adjustment period. Except this is not just an adjusting period, it is almost a mess.
Through two games, Mayfield is second in the NFL in interceptions and has a below league average completion percentage. The offense looks out of sync and there are more than just growing pains. So what has to give?
Minus the fourth quarter against Tennessee, Mayfield was manageable. Add the final quarter of last week and combine that with last night’s game against the Jets and you get one big head-scratcher.
The play calling has been subpar and the tempo doesn’t match the playing style. I do not have the answers on how to fix it but if adjustments are made and play calling is improved, the Browns are going to get laughed at on Sunday night.
Myles Garrett has too much bad and ugly to go along with the good
I was somewhat surprised to see that last season Garrett led the NFL in offsides/neutral zone infractions/encroachment penalties but then I reflected. When watching him explode off the line of scrimmage, a flag came along with it. When seeing him drill opposing quarterbacks, a penalty was thrown too.
Garrett was incredible. He had three sacks and even when he was not showing up on the stat sheet he was in the backfield chasing Falk. But it did not come without the penalties.
Garrett has to chill, totally undisciplined and he just ended the QB’s season.#Browns
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) September 17, 2019
The Browns are certainly going to win more games with Garrett than lose but they cannot afford to lose any at all because of him either. In his third season, there just has to be more disciplined. If it gets to the point where he is hurting more than helping, it is going to add up quickly.
Austin Seibert is settled in
While watching the game, I was surrounded by multiple Browns fans. I was asked the question of if I thought Austin Seibert was going to make his kicks and every time I responded yes.
The strides Seibert has made since the spring have been tremendous. He finished the preseason strong and has certainly built up his confidence. As soon as you heard his toe hit the ball, you knew the trajectory of the football was trending between the uprights.
I do not know if I am to the point where I am comfortable with him winning the game for the Browns, but I have certainly moved past holding my breath on every single attempt.
With the made field goals and extra points comes confidence. He certainly seems to have some now. Let’s see if he can keep the consistency next week.
Yes, I am worried about next week
The Browns were going against the Jets junior varsity team and even though the win was essentially sealed in the second half, I still felt uneasy with the performance. Too many defensive penalties. Too choppy on offense. Too many mistakes.
The NFC Champions come to Cleveland in six days and the Browns do not have time to waste. They also have the Ravens, 49ers, Seahawks and Patriots, all of whom are undefeated, as their following four games.
If the Browns put together the same performance from Monday Night, it could get real ugly, real fast, and the season could be in jeopardy too.
A good win last night but still plenty of questions left to be answered.