It is very difficult to maintain optimism regarding an 0-6 NFL team.
Going into the season, we preached that the Cleveland Browns were not going to be good this season, in fact, we figured a 2-14 or 3-13 record would be about what the final record would be.
That doesn’t mean it’s fun to watch the games and see the young players make mistakes that cost the Browns every week. Hue Jackson will tell us that it is his job to coach them up, but we all know he’s got to be shaking his head when watching the film.
Today, the final score wasn’t indicative of the closeness of the game. The defense allowed too many big play, including the very first one, a 41-yard run by Titans’ QB Marcus Mariota. But the young Browns kept fighting to the end, but still wound up on the short end of a 28-26 score.
Here are the positives, negatives, and officiating comments from today’s contest.
Positives. Much was made of Tennessee’s ground game coming into the week, but outside of that first run by Mariota, the Browns controlled DeMarco Murray, who averaged just over 3 yards a carry.
After the initial play, Cleveland allowed just 96 rushing yards on 30 attempts.
Cody Kessler played well too, completing 26 of 41 passes for his first NFL 300 yard passing day (336 yards) and two touchdown throws, both to Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor was productive too, grabbing nine receptions for 75 yards. Kessler has yet to hit him on a deep throw though.
And after being belittled on a pre-game show earlier in the day for no reason, Danny Shelton had his first NFL sack and five tackles. The nose tackle’s play is a big reason for the success against the run for the Browns for most of this season.
Negatives. If we were Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta, we would be scouring the waiver wire for cornerbacks.
Without Joe Haden today, Titans’ WR Kendall Wright blistered the secondary for eight catches and 133 yards. All in all, Tennessee had three plays of over 40 yards.
The offensive line continues to struggle. The Browns couldn’t run the ball (15 attempts, 40 yards) and Kessler was sacked six times.
Austin Pasztor is not a tackle, and should be playing guard, and Alvin Bailey shouldn’t be playing at all. Perhaps Jackson should try newcomer Jonathan Cooper and rookie Shon Coleman starting next week, because the Browns need to run the football much better than they have the last two weeks.
Ricardo Louis had five grabs for 65 yards, but dropped at least two passes that we could count. The rookie’s hands were questionable on draft day, and he needed to help out his QB by making some plays today.
Cleveland was just 3 for 14 on third down conversions and seemed to be equally bad on first down, shooting themselves in the foot with negative plays and/or penalties on first down, putting Kessler in a lot of bad positions.
That’s not helping the kid’s progress.
Officiating. Nothing stands out here. The worst call might have gone the Browns’ way as they flagged the Titans for pass interference on a long pass to Duke Johnson, where we though the contact was minimal.
Now the road show for the Browns take them to Cincinnati to play the struggling Bengals, the team Jackson was offensive coordinator for a year ago.
The points of emphasis this week should be the offensive line/running back and the secondary. Those positions were the biggest disappointments we can take away from this week six loss.