Browns Should Be Patient With Baker

Philosopher George Santayana is credited with saying “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

This couldn’t be more apt for the Cleveland Browns right now.  Once the team drafted Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, fans and media alike have been wondering when the rookie from Oklahoma will become the starting quarterback.

We continue to hope the Browns’ coaching staff and front office will resist the temptation to put Mayfield in there, at least until perhaps the last four games of the season.

We understand that other quarterbacks have moved right into the starting lineup for their teams over the past few years, guys like Carson Wentz, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota, but there was unique circumstances here.

First, none of the teams those QBs played on did not win a game the year prior, nor did any of them win just one game over the past two seasons.

GM John Dorsey brought in Taylor because he’s a professional, putting up a 22-20 record as a starter over three seasons in Buffalo.  He should start the season, and if he is putting up some wins, why wouldn’t Hue Jackson stay with him?

It’s not like all quarterbacks drafted high start as rookies, either.  Sure, the quartet we mentioned did, but from last year’s class, Patrick Mahomes didn’t start until the last week of the season.

From the 2016 class, Jared Goff didn’t start until a little over the halfway point in the season.

And last season’s rookies that did start weren’t really replacing quarterbacks as good as Taylor.  Mitch Trubisky took over after Mike Glennon started the first four games and put up more than 20 points just once.

Deshaun Watson took over in the first half of the first game for Tom Savage after he was awful in a 29-7 loss to Jacksonville in the season lidlifter.  Savage was 6 for 13 for 62 yards and was sacked six times when he was benched.

Look, we understand that Taylor isn’t Tom Brady or a player who would ever be ranked in the top ten of QB’s around the league.  However, he’s got a much better track record than Glennon or Savage.

With a very young team, the Browns need a veteran presence at quarterback to start the season off.

And even if Mayfield plays lights out during the exhibition, fans and media alike will have to remember he will probably be playing against a bunch of players who will likely not be on NFL rosters come week one.

This is not to doubt the ability of Mayfield, who we liked coming out of college, and we have no reason to not trust Dorsey’s selection as the future franchise quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.

Another argument used to rush the first overall pick into action is his age.  Heck, he’s 23, you’ve got to get him in there.  Mayfield is 23, not 33.  Even if he doesn’t play at all in 2018, good QBs are playing into their late 30’s these days.  It’s conceivable he could still play for 15 years.

The Browns have had a history of starting signal callers too early.  DeShone Kizer was clearly not ready.  Neither was Cody Kessler, Johnny Manziel, or Brandon Weeden.

Why not try something different and have the rookie watch and learn a bit before putting him on the field.  We also understand that Mayfield is a competitive guy and wants to play as soon as possible.

That doesn’t mean the Browns should go ahead and put him in there before he is ready.  The best plan is for him to sit and watch for awhile.  There is no reason to rush the process.

JD

 

 

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Browns’ Reboot Begins Big Time

As NFL teams started making moves last week, the cynics out there were making subtle jabs at Browns’ GM John Dorsey for not being involved.

On Friday, Dorsey basically told those people to shut up.

The GM started the procedure to get the brown and orange to a competitive level with a trio of moves and left the five picks the organization has accumulated in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft intact.

First, he traded a 4th this year and a 7th in 2019 to Miami to get WR Jarvis Landry, a three time Pro Bowler.  The Dolphins are over the salary cap and wanted to dump the receivers’ salary and Dorsey was happy to take him off Miami’s hands for a relatively cheap price.

Landry was averaged 100 catches per season in his four years with the Dolphins and gives the Browns a reliable target, one who will catch the football.

True, Miami targeted him a lot, and his average yards per catch is low, but he is only 25 years old and to get him for nothing higher than a fourth rounder is a feather in the new GM’s cap.

Next Dorsey showed he’s the guy in charge of things in Berea by trading the 65th overall pick next month for QB Tyrod Taylor.

Taylor is the perfect bridge quarterback for the Browns, holding the position for whoever the team selects with the first overall pick in April.  And make no mistake, they will pick the future franchise QB in the draft.

Taylor is the antithesis of what Browns’ fans have seen over the past two seasons, meaning he takes care of the football.

He’s 29 years old, has a 22-20 record as a starter (with Buffalo), and he led the league in interception percentage last season at 1.0%.

He’s not a gunslinger, barely throwing for over 3000 yards in his best yardage years, but he does not make the crucial mistake.  Plus, he’s mobile too, rushing for more than 427 yards in each of his three seasons as the Bills’ starter.

He will allow whatever rookie is drafted to sit and watch for awhile.  Fans who think this trade will give Cleveland the option of not drafting a QB with the first overall pick are crazy.

It also shows the GM is in charge as the team didn’t go after Hue Jackson’s guy, A.J. McCarron.

And with the next move Dorsey made, the Browns might be looking for another passer too.

He sent last year’s starter DeShone Kizer to Green Bay for CB Damarious Randall, a former first round pick, and a swap of draft picks in the 4th and 5th rounds.

The best thing for Kizer is to watch for awhile, and he will get that opportunity in Green Bay.  Even if Taylor were to get hurt this season, it wouldn’t have been good for the Browns to put Kizer back in.

His confidence had to have been shattered by last season’s disaster.

Randall has started 30 games in the NFL in three seasons, picking off 10 passes, and defending 32 more.

He is the first piece in rebuilding a secondary that is currently a weakness for the Browns.  We believe another piece will be added with one of the five picks Cleveland has in the firs two rounds, and also with a high priced free agent, maybe the Rams’ Trumaine Johnson.

There are rumors that Randall may be moved to free safety with the Browns, who have said Jabril Peppers will move to strong safety.

It was a day the Browns started to get better, and there are rumors another big move will come before the free agent signing period gets under way.

The asset accumulation period is over, and the talent acquisition phase has kicked in for the Cleveland Browns.  Hopefully, the days of one win in two years are over.

JD

 

 

 

Browns QB Shouldn’t Just Be Jackson’s Decision

There is no question the Cleveland Browns are looking for a quarterback, and after a 1-31 record the past two seasons, that’s the correct decision.

You can make a very good argument that the best QB play the Browns have had over that span is from Cody Kessler, who faces an uphill fight to make the roster in 2018.

The list for GM John Dorsey may have gotten a little bit longer the other day with the news of Cincinnati backup passer, A.J. McCarron was declared an unrestricted free agent.

Of course, the Browns famously had a deal worked out for the free agent at last season’s trade deadline, reportedly giving up a 2nd and 3rd round pick, but the paperwork was not turned into the league office in time, so the transaction did not go through.

There are media members saying there is a very good chance McCarron will sign with the Browns when the free agent signing period opens, because coach Hue Jackson wants him and the front office should accommodate that request.

That’s ridiculous!

First, we have nothing against McCarron, who could prove to be a fine bridge quarterback until whoever the Browns take in round one is ready to play.

Our objection to the proposed deal was the cost.  Those two picks were too high of a price for McCarron, who hasn’t started a game since 2015, and his high in passing yards in his three NFL starts is 200 yards.

But signing him because that’s who Jackson wants is beyond laughable.  The coach has a 1-31 record with Cleveland, and it is quite likely the only people on the planet who would have kept him on for a third year with an NFL team are Jimmy and Dee Haslam.

He should have very little credibility, and his voice should just be one in the group of Dorsey’s new front office.  Also, new offensive coordinator Todd Haley should be able to be part of the decision making process as well.

Let’s get off of this “quarterback whisperer” reputation that Jackson is supposed to have.  Has Kessler, DeShone Kizer, and Kevin Hogan made any progress at the position in the past two years?

Jackson was the offensive coordinator in Washington in 2003.  His quarterbacks were Patrick Ramsey and Tim Hasselbeck.  They were 5-11.

In 2007, when Jackson was OC with the Falcons, the QBs were Joey Harrington, Chris Redman, and Byron Lefwich.  Atlanta was 4-12.

He was the QB coach in 2008 and 2009 with Baltimore, coaching Joe Flacco, but sorry, Flacco is not an elite passer.

With the Raiders, he had Jason Campbell and traded a king’s ransom for Carson Palmer.  Both seasons ended in a .500 record for Oakland, the first with Jackson as OC, the second as head coach.

And of course, with Cincinnati, he had Andy Dalton and McCarron, in two playoff seasons, which got him the gig with Cleveland.

Not exactly a list of Hall of Famers is it?

Really, our point here is simply to point out that Dorsey and the rest of the talent evaluators shouldn’t be doing anything because Hue Jackson wants it done.  He hasn’t earned that gravitas.

If Dorsey and his group think Chase Daniel, Kirk Cousins, Tyrod Taylor, Case Keenum, or anyone else available to the Browns is a better option than A.J. McCarron, then that’s who they should sign.

And then get grab your possible franchise QB in the first round of April’s NFL Draft.

JD

Dorsey-Jackson Combo Raises Draft Questions.

This Sunday is the first without angst since the end of summer without angst for fans of the Cleveland Browns.

No worries about can the team win their first game, no concerns if the coach will ever use the running game, no wondering if DeShone Kizer can keep himself from throwing passes to the other team.

Now, the parades are over, and it is time to start focusing on the “Super Bowl” for Browns’ supporters seemingly every year…the NFL Draft.

Between now and April 26th, when Cleveland will kickoff the selection process with pick #1 (we assume), there will be plenty of speculation what GM John Dorsey will do with all of the selections his organization has.

The big question is how does Dorsey look at the process.  Does he select the players with the best potential to be NFL stars, or does he take players who fit the style of play coach Hue Jackson prefers.

One thing we have learned about Jackson in his two years at the helm is he will try to fit a square peg into a round hole.  We have extreme doubts that the head coach wants to change what he wants to do offensively.

Jackson has said he wants to hire an offensively coordinator, but since he is apparently doing the hiring, he is going to bring in someone who runs the same offensive style he favors, which is going downfield.

The Browns led the NFL is the average distance of their passing attempts at 9.7.  The only playoff team averaging over nine yards per throw was the Panthers.  Three other playoff teams (Falcons, Titans, Bills) were 8th-10th.

Two things come to mind here.  First, throwing downfield was clearly not working for Kizer, but Jackson didn’t care about that.

Second, it appears most successful teams mix in shorter throws as well.  The four teams in the top ten in this stat also rank in the top half of the league in rushing attempts, Cleveland ranked 28th.

We would take this to mean Carolina, Atlanta, Tennessee, and Buffalo throw downfield off of play action.  The Browns rarely do because teams don’t respect Jackson will run the football.

Getting defensive help is clearer because we believe defensive coordinator wants to pressure the quarterback, but didn’t have the secondary to do it in the style he prefers.

Getting Minkah Fitzpatrick would seem to be an ideal fit.  He can play both cornerback and safety and is considered the best defensive player in the draft.  To get that guy two years in a row (Myles Garrett) would help.

It has been reported that Dorsey wants to make a splash in free agency, and that’s fine as long as he isn’t bringing in aging players with a year or two left.

No matter what you feel about the past regime, there are plenty of good, young players here to build around and we would hate to see some of them let go to bring players on their last legs to the roster.

This is the asinine system set up by owner Jimmy Haslam when he decided Jackson would continue to be head coach of the team in 2018.

Our guess is Dorsey will bring in his guys, but then we can expect another season, at least at the beginning, of not utilizing people to the best of their abilities.

That’s why it is still frustrating to ponder.

JD

 

 

The March To 0-16 Is Complete.

We are sure that some will find humor in the play that clinched the 0-16 season for the Cleveland Browns was a dropped pass by Corey Coleman, because it goes along with the narrative that the former first round draft pick is a bust.

That’s the state of the Browns these days.  Fans are divided, and the ownership seems to be in a world of their own.

That world allows them to be content enough with a coach that has gone 1-31 over a two year span, and put together just the second 0-16 season in NFL history, to bring him back for a third season.

Imagine selling that to your fan base, after the 28-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

To be fair, the Browns fought back from an early 14-0 deficit to tie the game at 21 in the third quarter on a 5 yard touchdown pass from DeShone Kizer to Rashard Higgins, the latter’s second TD catch on the day.

The special teams, coached by zombie apocalypse survivor Chris Tabor, allowed a 96 yard kickoff return by JuJu Smith-Schuster which gave the Steelers a lead they would not relinquish.

The turnover battle, normally a loss for Cleveland, was even today, making Hue Jackson’s crew 0-12-4 for 2017 in that category.

Kizer, as he usually does, made some good throws, such as a 54 yard strike to Josh Gordon, and first TD toss to Higgins on a slant pattern.  However, he also spiked several throws throughout the day, and flirted with interceptions several times in the second half before finally throwing one in the fourth quarter.

Consistency is a talent.  Great players aren’t the ones who make great plays, they are guys who make positive plays all the time.  Kizer is the baseball player who gets four hits in a game, but goes 0 for 18 in five other games.  Professional sports is about being consistent.

The rookie quarterback didn’t get any help from his coaches, who failed to protect him all year, by throwing the ball way more than they ran it all season long.

Even today in frigid conditions, the Browns ran the ball with their running backs just 21 times, compared to 42 passing plays (30 passes, six sacks, six runs by Kizer).  By contrast, Pittsburgh had 25 running plays and 33 passing plays (27 throws, three sacks, and three bad snaps).

Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin said he thought the Browns should run the ball more to minimize turnovers early in the week.  Apparently, everyone realizes this except Hue Jackson.

Besides finishing without a win, the largest kick in the groin Cleveland football fans have to endure is the owner Jimmy Haslam’s stubborn stance in bringing Jackson back.

Jackson maintains there is a devoid of talent here, but several articles have come out recently disputing that.  Statistically, the Browns are much better than the ’08 Lions, the only other team that finished 0-16.

And even if Jackson’s claim is true, it simply means he didn’t do a good job coaching.  Good coaches get more out of the talent given to them.  As was pointed out earlier this week, the New York Jets were said to be tanking this season, but Todd Bowles squeezed five wins out of them.

Look, we and anyone reading this could have coached the Browns to an 0-16 record.  Jackson didn’t maximize the talent here, and we believe time will prove that there are good players here.

Hopefully, the owner comes to his senses on this issue and allows new GM John Dorsey to bring in a someone different.

We don’t trust Jackson to be involved with whatever QB Cleveland drafts in the first round this spring, or with a veteran brought in by Dorsey.

Hue Jackson contributed to this mess, he should not get a chance to ruin another football season in Cleveland.

JD

 

 

Does Anyone Still Think Hue Wants To Run?

It was going to be the best play of Myles Garrett’s young career.

He caught a deflected pass and rumbled toward the end zone, breaking a tackle, and getting the defensive score the Cleveland Browns had been looking for all season, putting his team ahead, 9-6.

He fired the ball into the stands in glee.

But as things are when you are 0-14, there was a flag down.  Carl Nassib lined up in the neutral zone, nullifying Garrett’s score.

And that pretty much ended today’s game.  Hue Jackson’s team dropped to 0-15 on the season, 1-30 during his tenure, losing to the Chicago Bears, 20-3 at Soldiers’ Field.

Since both teams are starting rookie quarterbacks, the contrast is startling when comparing the two teams.

On a snowy, windy day, the white stuff was accumulating on the field in the first half, the Bears, now 5-10 on the year, ran the ball 31 times compared to just 20 for the Browns.

As has been the case for most of the year, Cleveland averaged more yards per running play, 3.8 to 3.1.  The Browns didn’t get nearly as much out of DeShone Kizer on the ground either.  He gained just 8 yards on three carries, whereas Mitchell Trubisky (Mentor native, we are obligated to say) picked up 44 yards rushing.

This means Cleveland’s running backs gained 64 yards on 17 attempts (3.8 average) compared to the Bears’ 53 yards on 24 attempts (2.2 average).

Can the national media get it out of their head that Jackson wants to run the football.

It has been clear all year long that despite averaging in the top in the league in average yards per attempt on the ground, and an offensive line with solid pieces in Joel Bitonio, Kevin Zeitler, and JC Tretter, and for part of the year, future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas, that the coach doesn’t want to run it.

After the Bears’ scored their only TD in the first half, Jackson dialed up five consecutive passing plays on a day that screamed running.

The Browns best drive of that half was seven minutes long, leading into the two minute warning.  They mixed six runs and have short passes to move 50 yards.

On a 2nd and 4, after a six yard run by Crowell, Kizer threw for the end zone, where the pass for picked off, the QB’s 20th of the season.

And despite it being just a 6-3 deficit at half, which turned into 10 points after the Bears first drive, but still with over 27 minutes to go, Cleveland ran just three more running plays the rest of the game, and one of them was the last play, a three yard gain by Matthew Dayes.

The lack of an attempt to establish a ground game causes the Browns to lose the time of possession battle, the Bears had the ball for 33 minutes today.

The total yards for the two teams was about even, but once again, Cleveland lost the turnover battle, 3-0.  Reminder, the Browns have not won the turnover game at all this season.

They have been even three times (week 1 vs. Pittsburgh, and both Cincinnati games), and ten times have had two or more turnovers than their opponents.

The last forced turnover by the defense?  Week 11, five games ago, vs. Jacksonville, when Garrett recovered a fumble caused by Christian Kirksey’s sack of Blake Bortles.

The defense did have five sacks today, the biggest output of the season.

Anyway, it’s on to Pittsburgh and one last attempt to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history.  A pretty daunting task.

JD

 

 

 

Is Dorsey Really A GM If He Can’t Hire The Coach?

It occurred to us today that although John Dorsey’s title is General Manager of the Cleveland Browns, he really isn’t a GM at all.

The title infers the Dorsey is managing the football operations, but as it stands right now, he is in charge of procuring players either via the waiver wire or the draft.  That would make him a personnel director, not a GM.

This is because of the crazy management set up by ownership, where the Dorsey and coach Hue Jackson both report to Jimmy Haslam.

This organizational chart just invites a power struggle.  And Haslam should be very familiar with this because it literally just happened.

When Sashi Brown was put in charge of the 53 man roster and Jackson was brought in as coach shortly thereafter, they claimed to be on the same page, apparently Jackson was okay with stripping down the roster and going with a total rebuild.

As the losses extended into year two of the regime, Jackson bailed on the plan, and started throwing Brown under the bus.  He complained about the players, saying he didn’t have enough talent to win games.

Obviously, when we had Haslam’s ear, he kept telling the boss Brown’s plan wasn’t working and the Browns needed to bring a “football guy” in here to speed up the process.

We have no way of knowing if Sashi Brown bad mouthed the head coach in his meetings with the owner.

The disturbing thing is why would Haslam think the very same thing won’t occur again with the Dorsey/Jackson coupling?

The national media have a high opinion of Jackson, assigning him no blame to him for the horrible 1-29 record for the franchise over the last two seasons.

Locally, more and more people are realizing that Jackson is not taking the necessary steps to win football games.  Better use of the running game, which would take pressure off a rookie quarterback, would be a good start.

The Browns throw more passes of 20 yards or more than any other team in the NFL, certainly not taking the pressure off DeShone Kizer.

If Dorsey is truly running the football operations, he must be free to hire his own coach.  That would ensure there would be no backstabbing, and that the coach and Dorsey would be on the same page.  They would have a shared vision.

Another benefit of the harmony could also be no more leaking stories of unhappiness and discord within the organization to the national media.  We think we know the source of that information.

It’s a perfect time to make the move too.  The Browns will likely be picking a quarterback with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft this spring.  You could have your new GM, new coach, and franchise QB all coming aboard together.

This seems to be a constant issue for this franchise.  Remember in the 80’s when Art Modell picked Marty Schottenheimer over the guy, Ernie Accorsi,  who accumulated the talent for the teams that made three AFC title games in four years.

After a few years, Schottenheimer fell out of favor and was replaced by Bud Carson.  In a matter of four years, both Accorsi and Schottenheimer were gone.

If you are going to bring in a “football guy”, then give him control of the whole shooting match.  That’s the best chance to get this organization out of the malaise it has been in for over 20 years.

JD

 

Another Exhausting Sunday For Browns’ Fans

The Cleveland Browns are exhausting to watch because over the past two seasons every game seems like the Bill Murray film Groundhog Day.

It’s the same crummy game plans, the same dumb mistakes, it’s a complete rerun every stinking, single week.

We may not speak for all Browns fans, but here is a list of things we are tired of seeing, and we aren’t even talking about losing.

Oh, by the way, the Browns are now 0-14 after today’s 27-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in what was mercifully, the last home game of the season.  Hue Jackson’s record as coach of Cleveland falls to 1-29.

We are tired of the abandonment of the running game.  What if we told you that one team averaged 6.8 yards per run, and the other 3.1.  And one team had 31 running plays, the other just 19.

You would obviously think the team that averaged almost seven yards per carry probably used 31 running plays.

You would of course be wrong.

The lunacy is after a drive which gave Cleveland a 7-3 lead in the second quarter and consisted of five running plays netting 96 yards, the brown and orange ran 10 consecutive passing plays.

There was one play where QB DeShone Kizer scrambled after dropping back to throw, and ran with the ball, so there was a rushing attempt, but it was not a running play.

Isaiah Crowell had a 59 yard run on the touchdown drive, then carried it just one more time the rest of the game.

We are tired of illegal formation penalties, there seems to be at least one each and every week.  This is the 14th game of the season, shouldn’t players know where to line up by now?

We are tired of Kizer’s red zone turnovers.  The rookie threw an interception from the Ravens’ 6 yard line, throwing to Crowell when he was covered by not one, not two, not three, but four Raven defenders.

What exactly is Kizer being taught by the so-called “quarterback whisperer”?  It is definitely not take care of the football.

We are tired of not seeing the coaching staff use weapons like rookie TE David Njoku and WR Corey Coleman.  The two combined for one more catch than we had today.

We are tired of seeing tight ends dominate the Cleveland defense.  Gregg Williams’ group had problems covering them in game one, and once again, here on game 14, they still cannot cover them.

Former Brown Benjamin Watson, now 36 years old, caught four passes for 74 yards, including a 33 yard touchdown.

We are tired of the resignation this coaching staff has towards defeat.  Myles Garrett gets held often, but it doesn’t seem like an issue for the coaches.  Joe Flacco obviously intentionally grounded the ball in the second half, and no one complained boisterously.

We are tired of Kizer’s inaccuracy.  He was 20 of 37 on the day, a tick just over 50%, when in today’s NFL, the benchmark is 60%.

That inaccuracy goes with his seemingly terrible pocket presence.  He ran himself into a sack once again today.

And we are tired on seeing the Browns on defense for vast amounts of the game every week.

Today, the Ravens had the ball for 37 minutes, compared to 23 for Cleveland.  Is the defensive scheme perfect?  No.  However, that unit is on the field for long periods every game, due to the team’s lack of a commitment to the running game.

Browns’ fans deserve better.  This team won one game a year ago, and added a number of good players:  Garrett, Kevin Zeitler, JC Tretter, Jason McCourty, Njoku, etc., yet they are somehow worse.

The next installment of this horror film occurs next week in Chicago.  A very Merry Christmas Eve indeed.

JD

 

Who Takes Blame For Browns’ Latest Loss?

It was a tumultuous week for the Cleveland Browns, especially on Thursday when Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown was fired by owner Jimmy Haslam, and replaced later that day by General Manager John Dorsey.

Amazingly, Hue Jackson was given a vote of confidence by the owner and it was announced he would be back for the 2018 season, despite a 1-27 record during his tenure.

With Dorsey in attendance at First Energy Stadium, the Browns blew a two touchdown lead they gained late in the third quarter, and lost to the Green Bay Packers in overtime, 27-21, dropping them to 0-13 on the season, and 1-28 since Jackson took over last year.

We have maintained most of the year that the Browns were not as bad as their record indicated, and today was another example, as Cleveland dominated much of the first three quarters, but couldn’t come up with the victory.

Jackson’s team outgained Green Bay, and held the Packers to under 100 yards rushing for the game, but lost because they played not to lose after scoring to make it a 21-7 game, and because of another horrible turnover by DeShone Kizer.

After that last score, with 2:49 left in the third quarter, it seemed Gregg Williams’ defense went into prevent mode, allowing Brett Hundley to complete short pass after short pass, leading to a 13 play, 75 yard drive to close the gap to 21-14.

After the first drive of the contest, the Browns’ defense hadn’t allowed the Packers much, so we don’t understand the change in philosophy.  With three minutes to go in the game, we could understand it, but there were 18 minutes left.

It is worth noting that Jackson challenged a juggling catch, that clearly (on live look) appeared to be a catch, costing the Browns a timeout.

The score that tied the game was set up by a special teams’ gaffe, allowing Travis Davis to return a punt 65 yards to the Browns’ 25 with a little over two minutes to go.

Instead of pinning Green Bay deep in their own territory, they had a short field for the game tying score.

When was the last time the Cleveland special teams had a game without a glaring mistake?

Offensively, Jackson has talked all year about the lack of talent.

Granted, Josh Gordon just returned last week, but Isaiah Crowell, who had 121 yards on 19 carries, has been here all year.

Corey Coleman, criticized recently for being just an average player, caught five passes for 62 yards, and seems to be a good compliment for Gordon.

Unfortunately, TE David Njoku didn’t seem to be part of the game plan, catching just one pass for three yards.

Still, we saw some nice play calling.  The game opened on a play action pass on first down, with Kizer hitting Gordon for 38 yards.

We also saw a number of screen passes, and even a shuffle pass in the red zone, which Duke Johnson turned into a touchdown.

We wonder where that has been all season.

However, with a chance to win, Kizer tried to make a big play when he should have eaten the ball, and threw an interception, his second of the day, when Clay Matthews Jr. hit his arm, forcing the ball to go straight up in the air, where it was picked off by Josh Jones.

That led to the game winning TD in overtime, and the Browns’ 14th straight loss.

File this one into the list of games the team could have won this season.  It’s far too many for a team without a win.

There is talent on this football team, and thanks for that should go to the deposed Brown.  Unfortunately, the problem is poor coaching, and at least for the time being, that problem still exists.

JD

 

Today’s Browns’ Loss? All The Elements Which Caused 0-12.

Another Sunday, another day of insanity from the Cleveland Browns.

First, we had the national media (another leak from the coaching staff) saying coach Hue Jackson devised all kinds of plays to get the ball to recently reinstated WR Josh Gordon today.

Too bad, Jackson couldn’t do the same thing all season for guys like Duke Johnson, David Njoku and Seth DeValve.

Second, you had the local media reporting that Jackson wanted Carson Wentz all along in last year’s draft.  This despite several reports saying the Browns’ head coach didn’t think Wentz was worthy of the second overall pick.

And then we got to the game, which the Browns dropped 19-10 to the Los Angeles Chargers to drop to 0-12 this season.  With the 49ers win today, the Browns are the last team in the NFL without a win.

Cleveland’s first offensive play was a 9 yard completion to Gordon, and seemingly DeShone Kizer spent the rest of the day trying to force the ball to the wide out.

The Chargers were last in the NFL in rushing defense, so of course, Jackson had his offense throwing the ball all over place, with 35 passing plays (including three sacks) compared to just 22 runs.

Jackson continuously says he wants to run the ball, but we now have virtually two years of evidence that does not support it.  The man simply would rather to throw the football.

Unfortunately, he has a 21-year-old second round rookie QB, who is not terribly accurate and has little pocket awareness.  So, why wouldn’t you want to put the onus on him?

Kizer was below 50% today (15 of 32) and is has completed just 53% of his throws on the season, woefully low in today’s NFL.

This was on total display today, as Kizer missed Gordon twice on deep throws which should have resulted in touchdowns, and threw several other passes low and therefore uncatchable for his receivers.

He did make some great throws, two to Njoku come to mind, including one resulting in the Browns’ only touchdown.

However, the good quarterbacks make these kind of throws way more often.  And that’s why the Browns need to address the position in the off-season.

As for Kizer’s pocket presence, let’s just say it’s not showing signs of improvement.

He was sacked and fumbled with a chance to make the score 19-17 in the fourth quarter, because he held the ball after escaping the pocket.

Then, on the next possession, he took a sack in the field of play with no timeouts left and Gordon all the way downfield running a route.

What exactly is Jackson whispering to Kizer?

To us, it seems the Browns don’t seem to know what each part of the team is doing.

Jackson’s reliance on the pass leads to the defense being on the field way too much.  The Chargers had the ball for 35 minutes, and although we don’t agree with everything Gregg Williams does, his unit did allow just one touchdown despite allowing 429 yards, including 335 yards in the air to Philip Rivers.

Gordon did wind up with four catches for 85 yards during the game, but he could have had more with a more accurate passer.

Njoku continues to be underused, scoring his 4th touchdown of the year among his four receptions for 74 yards, but he doesn’t seem on the field as much as he should be.

Throw in two penalties for illegal formation (coaching) and a long kickoff return after the field goal which made the score 19-10, and you have a complete list of what seems to go on each and every week.

To complete things, we are sure Jackson once again said after the game that he doesn’t have the talent to win, and it would be “Groundhog Day” once again.

The only thing more disturbing would be the owner allowing this excuse maker around the Browns again next season.

JD