This week, Marshall Faulk said, "Midway through the season, it’s time to assess and adjust. To be GMC Professional Grade, you must be calculated in your approach," and then asked us the following question: "What adjustments are needed to make sure you are fighting for a playoff spot?"
The universal feeling is that we need to bide time until WR Josh Gordon comes back. When he's playing, it almost doesn't matter at times what offensive and defensive liabilities your team has: he's that big of a game-changer. Until Gordon comes back, the Browns will look to take advantage of a relatively soft schedule, particularly over their next two weeks against Oakland and Tampa Bay at home. Three quick adjustments the Browns need to make to be in position for a playoff push include:
Patch up the offensive line - For strategic purposes, Mike Pettine said he would not reveal who would start at right guard and center this week. Nick McDonald has not been activated from the non-football injury list yet, but if he receives the call-up on Saturday, he could start at center. If he's not activated, the Browns have to find a way to get Paul McQuistan out of the lineup. It doesn't take a genius to see how badly overmatched he was against the Jaguars last week; it was a cut-worthy performance. I wouldn't be surprised if Vinston Painter gets the surprise start at right guard.
Stay patient, wait for the defensive line to return - The Browns' run defense won't improve until they get their starting defensive linemen back. They'll have to be patient with it, but the players could be returning incrementally over the next three weeks. Ahtyba Rubin will make his return at nose tackle this week. Billy Winn will likely play next week, but there's a slim chance he'll even play this week. Phil Taylor could be back in two weeks.
- Get Travis Benjamin back to returning punts - Cleveland has had zero production in the return game, removing an element of the game that Browns fans have been accustomed to since 1999 with the likes of Dennis Northcutt and Joshua Cribbs. Benjamin can provide the spark, and although he struggled in terms of comfort fielding punts earlier this season, special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said it's only a matter of time before he's given another shot. Why not now?
What adjustments do you think the Browns can make to improve their odds of making a playoff push? Should Kyle Shanahan and Jim O'Neil change something strategically on offense and defense? Let us know in the comments section below.