Who would’ve thought that the heading into the bye week it would look this way? Unfortunately, it does.
The Cleveland Browns are 2-4 and two games behind the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. A game behind the Oakland Raiders for the second spot in the wildcard.
Baker Mayfield leads the NFL in interceptions and has only a better completion percentage than Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. Odell Beckham Jr. has two games with just four receptions and 47 receiving yards. Denzel Ward has played in just two games this season and Rashard Higgins has played in one and was suited up in another.
Boy, do the Browns need the bye week. There is so much to fix, so much to correct, and so many improvements to be made and be made fast. Here are fix things the Browns need to straighten out soon.
1. Mayfield protecting the football
He is just three interceptions away from matching his 2018 total, something is not right. There have been a few passes there that were intercepted as a result of his receivers but either way, he has been the culprit of way too many turnovers this season.
Not only is the ball been put into the hands of the other team way too often, but Mayfield is also just too inconsistent. I want to see some rhythm on offense and an identity.
This team is going to go where ever Mayfield takes them and right now it’s being taken back to the dreaded last two decades. I want to see him turn it back into its previous intended direction.
2. Commit to the run
I have convinced myself that the Browns have to know that Nick Chubb is one of the best running backs in football. When Chubb gets the football, great things happen. When the Browns venture away from the run, bad things happen.
I understand that Freddie Kitchens, a former quarterback, wants to air it out and I am sure Todd Monken is not helping that. I am not saying to run the ball 50 times a game, but there is no reason to move away from running the ball as quickly as they usually do.
Chubb has the talent to lead the NFL in rushing yards but he can not just be used in spurts. Once again, this goes back to having a consistent identity on offense — something the Browns have yet to find.
3. Get Genard Avery involved
There is no reason that Avery should not be on the football field. Last year as a rookie, Avery was a bright spot of the Browns defense. This year, he has been absolutely absent, inactive for every game on the schedule.
I am not sure if Steve Wilks is too concerned about the schematic fit or what the deal is. Perhaps there is something going on behind the scenes that we do not know. Either way, something has to give.
Good coaches find ways to get good football players involved, one way or another. I am not saying he needs to be on the field every single play but put him in pads and unleash him. I refuse to believe that he can hurt more than help, at least at this point.
4. Erase the penalties
Too many times this season the Browns have put themselves in the position to lose because of the penalties. I thought the one positive of this team was supposed to be disciplined.
I am understanding of the fact that the Browns were hosed on a few calls yesterday but all season it has been bad. So bad that the Browns lead the league with 508 yards worth of penalties on offense.
It seems obvious but you cannot win games with the number of penalties that they commit. The offense is bad as it is and all the extra laundry on the field certainly is not helping.