Life can come at you fast in the NFL, which is a lesson the Cleveland Browns are quickly learning.
It was just a few weeks ago that the Browns were the darlings of the NFL, a dynamic team on the rise that the league’s network partners were fighting over to televise their games.
That has all gone south in the wake of a 1-2 start to the season that has seen the offense struggle to get out of its own way.
Those issues have led pundits both local and nationwide to question what is going on with the Browns, with much of the focus - rightfully so - falling on head coach Freddie Kitchens and quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Such was the case earlier this week when former head coach and current ESPN talking head Rex Ryan called Mayfield “overrated as hell” and a quarterback who makes one read and then makes things up if the first look is not open.
Haha talk to em Rex! Rex Ryan has had enough and he ain’t lyin lol.. Joe Thomas ain’t walking through those doors anytime soon... they better fix that offensive tackle issue before the 49ers game in 2 weeks lol pic.twitter.com/jDPx4YX92v— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) September 23, 2019
The Browns answered back on Wednesday, with head coach Freddie Kitchens making his thoughts clear on the subject, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“I appreciate his opinion and all that, but he is not in our building. He has no idea what we are doing. I would answer that with that. That is asinine to even say.”
When it was his turn to meet with the media, Mayfield outdid his head coach, according to the team’s website:
“In the wise words of Freddie Kitchens, ‘If you do not wear orange and brown, you do not matter,’ and Rex Ryan does not have any colors right now for a reason so it is OK.”
It all makes for good sound bytes during the week, but it is just empty bravado if the Browns don’t start backing it up on the field.
Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens would be a good place to start as a win would leave the Browns in a first-place tie with the Ravens atop the AFC North Division.
If not, Kitchens, Mayfield and the rest of the Browns better be ready for another round of criticism following the game.