It is safe to say that the season has not gone as planned for the Cleveland Browns through the first five games.
The offense that thrilled fans and put the fear into opposing defenses over the final half of the 2018 season has yet to emerge in 2019, as the Browns are currently ranked:
- 23rd in yards per game with 340.2
- 28th in third-down conversions at 29 percent
- 2nd in penalty yards with 423
- 31st in completion percentage at 55.5
- 29th in touchdown passes with 4
- Tied for first with 8 interceptions
- 31st in quarterback rating at 68.3
- 25th in points per game at 18.4
Everyone is wondering just what is going on and there are numerous theories about who is to blame, from the offensive line, to the play calling, to the quarterback play, to everyone trying to do too much in an attempt to live up to the offseason hype. (There is some truth behind each and every one of those.)
There is also no shortage of answers from the team’s key players on how to fix the offense.
“I just think it is a lack of execution on offense. I think it is just about everyone doing their job. Not worrying about chemistry this or all of the outside noise, it is just about doing your job and knowing we have the guys in this locker room that we believe in. That is why everyone was brought here, and now just go and do it.”
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry believes it is about putting pressure on opposing defenses, according to ohio.com:
“We’ve just got to find ways to be more intentional, I just believe in that. We’ve got to find ways to get guys that we believe [are] our game-changers the ball and the defense has got to try to stop it. I don’t think it should ever be about us. I think the defense should have their hands full and should have to stop us.”
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said the Browns should not be afraid to rely on him, according to cleveland.com:
“I’m more than happy to take something off (Baker’s) plate and put it on me. I can take it. I can handle all this stuff, so just put it on me and see what happens.”
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken said everyone just needs to be better, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“Call it what you will, we just have to do it better. Obviously from an understanding of what is expected of them, some it is in terms of just mental lapses. Some it is discipline and mental discipline in terms of pre-snap penalties that are going to bite you in the rear end. Some of it is we have to coach it better. That is a fact. There is no dodging this. We have to do it better.”
Head coach Freddie Kitchens said the team needs to be more consistent, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“A general philosophy is be consistent, be very methodical in your passing game and you have to hit explosive plays, whether it is in the run game or pass game. That is how you are successful in this league because defenses in this league are pretty good. To say you are going to string together five 14-play drives is very unreasonable to say so you better hit some chunk plays if you are going to be successful.”
Those are all great answers and seem very hard to argue with. There is no question that the Browns have more talent on offense than at any time since the late 1980s.
Those answers do raise one key question, however.
If the Browns know what they need to do, why are they not doing it?