The day after a Cleveland Browns loss is like most Mondays during the NFL season since the team’s return in 1999. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. The roster is full of players with talent, physical gifts and, many of them, big contracts.
Yet, through seven weeks of the 2022 NFL season, we find ourselves staring at the Browns 2-5 record. It is a strange place in the season given that there are still 10 more games remaining but, due to the Deshaun Watson trade, not a whole lot of hope toward a top pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
The site has been hopping with articles since the game ended:
- Game recap and “Brownies and Frownies”
- TE David Njoku health update
- Tempers flaring in the locker room
- News roundup in the Dawg Chow
- Trading a running back deep dive
- Who is set for free agency after the year and, in turn, could be on the trade block?
With all that out there, now it is time for my irregular feature: “Monday Musings.” I unload thoughts, information and anything noodling around in my brain since yesterday’s failure.
Hard to Win in the NFL
This is not an excuse for Cleveland but a look around the league presents a lot of interesting teams. It used to be that a star quarterback was enough but Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyler Murray all have losing records so far this year.
For the Browns, little details have cost them mightily this season. In a league full of more and more parity, it is the details that matter most.
Always More Questions than Answers
Perhaps because of the little details issue, we leave every Cleveland loss (and some wins) with more questions than answers. Often, that leads to the simple idea of replacing people. Players, coaches, the front office and owner have all been mentioned in our comment section throughout the season.
It is why yesterday’s loss stung but really doesn’t hurt as bad anymore. Most expect the Browns to lose and find some interesting way to do so. They did exactly what was expected of them.
Age and Other Sports
A quick personal note: As I get older, losses hurt less. Perhaps it is perspective but it also could be do to the Cleveland Cavaliers championship, the Cleveland Guardians being good and The Ohio State Buckeyes almost always in contention. With four teams to care about, even if the Browns are far and away the one I’m most passionate about, it eases the pain of losing, somehow.
Running the Football More Isn’t The Answer
Some want Kevin Stefanski to always run the ball or almost always. Others want it to be more situational. In the end, they are running the ball a lot and if they adjusted to running the ball in those important situations they would either have to run less earlier or just be running the ball at a very high clip compared to the rest of the league:
Browns ran the ball 5% more than expected yesterday for all the need to run the ball more ppl. Im convinced ppl would rather lose and run the ball 50 times than actually try and win https://t.co/pUy4gX9nxy pic.twitter.com/xJH3EIWWEh— Clevta (@Clevta) October 24, 2022
There are absolutely times that it looks like they should run the ball and don’t. If it works, nothing is said. When it doesn’t, it is easy to point to “run the ball.” Yesterday, for example, if Amari Cooper isn’t called for interference, the Browns take the lead on that 3rd and 2 call.
Jacoby Brissett Played Well Yesterday
It has been so long since Cleveland fans have seen a good quarterback that I worry expectations are a little high. It seems like fans expect good QBs to never throw interceptions, rarely take a sack and always find the open receiver. Sadly, that quarterback only exists in highlight reels of other games and in Madden video games.
Yesterday, the passing offense was actually tracking pretty well with Brissett only missing on five of his 27 throws for 258 yards. If the Cooper pass isn’t called back he’s pushing 300 yards and a TD. Yes, he fumbled. Yes, he took a couple of sacks.
That is high-level QB play especially when you consider he is getting paid just $5 million a year, pennies compared to other starters and many backups (but a ton of money to all of us).
JJ3 Seems Checked Out
Perhaps we should have seen it coming when Troy Hill didn’t make it through the offseason with the team but John Johnson III seems checked out for the team. Maybe it wasn’t what he had hoped coming to Cleveland. Following him on Instagram, he’s often working out and has side interests, like everyone should. It is plays like this that draw questions:
Just soaking up some film tonight. Fun stuff. pic.twitter.com/V24QWiCkui— Jake Burns (@jake_burns18) October 24, 2022
Finishing With Some Good
Let us hope Njoku comes back quickly because he has been really good this year:
PFF TE Rankings for 2022— Jack Duffin (@JackDuffin) October 24, 2022
1 - Kelce
T2 - Njoku
T2 - Andrews pic.twitter.com/zGzo0vQy0c
While Johnson has struggled, giving big contracts to Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller (along with Myles Garrett and Nick Chubb) looks like great moves:
PFF G Rankings for 2022— Jack Duffin (@JackDuffin) October 24, 2022
1 - Bitonio
2 - Lindstrom
3 - Teller
While spending massive money on two guards might not be the smartest investment, it’s great they are playing at an All-Pro level pic.twitter.com/3sGrRrJWTM
What kind of musings have you had since the game ended yesterday?