I am a Cleveland Browns fan and have been for the last few years, having re-found my love for the NFL during 2017’s postseason. However, I had been an avid fan of college football and so decided to support arguably the worst team in the NFL after they drafted Baker Mayfield. And, in all fairness, I’m a sucker for the underdog! Following his debut in Week 3 of the 2018 season, The Browns were considered a huge outside bet when it came to a Wild Card playoff spot after they showed moments of true brilliance, but unfortunately, they fell short.
Cleveland used the offseason to bring in some huge talent in the form of WR Odell Beckham Jr and DT Vernon Richardson to help bolster their offense and defense respectively before adding the impressive safety Greedy Williams in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Throw into the mix the relationship between their young QB and new head coach and you have the raw ingredients and talent for success. With Baker Mayfield leading offense and Miles Garret bolstering the defense, the Browns are now considered a contender of their division for the first time in a decade.
The hype train really started moving for the Browns as people began whispering just how formidable they were going to be in the coming season which was bolstered by their impressive 88-yard no-huddle drive the first game of the preseason which resulted in a touchdown. Social media has been abuzz with big catches, deep throws and monster hits – everything the long-suffering Browns fans needed to see leading up the new season.
But all then hype fell apart around them during Week 1 when they were soundly beaten by the Tennessee Titans. A combination of poor discipline, lack of chemistry on offense and the fact they gave up over 100 yards in penalties left the Browns with a loss at a time when they needed to prove their haters wrong.
Don’t be in the least bit surprised if the Browns continue to watch their team fall apart around them and I say for this good reason. The Browns have too many potential problems in the locker room that could bring about their downfall.
The first issue which needs to be discussed straight off the bat is the fact that the Browns have a lot of good players in their franchise. Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Odell Beckham Jr, Kareem Hunt, and Nick Chubb are the new faces of their offense (I’ll get to Baker Mayfield shortly) and every single one of them is going to want the ball. Freddy Kitchens may find himself having to cater to the egos of these star players instead of actually coach the team, which could be disastrous. As my glorious editor said to me, too many players are going to want the ball, an issue which is bound to cause friction.
With the eyes of the NFL world firmly fixed on the Browns and what they can bring to the table, Baker Mayfield needs to slow himself down and think before he acts. With crazy arm talent and high accuracy, he has all the potential to stand out from the collection of next-generation QB’s (but he’ll never be as good as Patrick Mahomes!). Mayfield now needs to learn to be a leader and guide this star-studded roster to victory. Trolling people on social media isn’t going to do him any favors at this point. Don’t get me wrong, I have full faith in the Browns’ QB of the future, but he needs to just learn to relax.
The final problem that the Cleveland Browns need to address, and soon, is issues with the teams’ discipline. It doesn’t matter which team in the NFL you are, to give away that many penalties and to allow your opponents to gain that much yardage is, frankly, a joke. Mayfield can help here by pulling the offense and defense together, and with the help of Miles Garret, they can enforce discipline through the team. Kicking another player in the head is banned for a reason and has no place in the NFL. While it could be argued that the Browns allowed the pressure of high expectations get to them, they need to remember that they have to impress their long-suffering fans.
The biggest question on every Cleveland Browns fan’s mind is whether or not we are finally going to see the Lombardi Trophy lifted by the Dawg Pound. In all honesty, it is too early to tell but if week 1 was anything to go by, then Brown’s fans are in for a hard season. The back office also needs to address the holes in their defense.
With the LT and RT spots now in serious need of some talent, it wouldn’t hurt to add another safety to help with the coverage of the hugely talented WR we now have in the NFL. It’s fine adding some huge power on offense, but that doesn’t mean anything if the other team can score just as many points.
Let’s just hope John Dorsey and the rest of the Cleveland Browns coaching staff can get their talent on the same page because in the NFL only one thing matters – winning! Just ask any New England Patriots fans…