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Monday Musings after Browns Fall to the Falcons

A few frustrated thoughts on the opposite of Victory Monday.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Like a few of the other new features that started last week, “Monday Musings” is another chance to share a variety of thoughts, unload the notebook and share without limitations.

Unfortunately, the first Musings are on the opposite of Victory Monday as the Cleveland Browns fell to the Atlanta Falcons on the road in Week 4. In a game that seemed to be mostly controlled by the visitors, the end result is both teams are 2-2.

Kevin Stefanski has taken responsibility but what changes will be made? Thankfully, the AFC North is quite a mess. We shared some of our “Brownies and Frownies” with you after the game as well.

On to my Musings:

  • Looking for simple answers won’t find any.

- Joe Woods and Mike Priefer are unlikely to be fired.

- Stefanski is unlikely to give up play calling.

- “Just take the points” is unlikely to occur based on their research but a change in what plays are called could change.

- Simple answers just don’t exist in the middle of an NFL season. The game is too difficult, too complicated and too much work was put in during training camp to make wholesale changes and it actually makes a big impact in the positive.

  • David Njoku’s fumble was the biggest swing play of the game but won’t get a lot of attention.

- No one knows how the game would have gone differently if the Browns kick the field goal instead of going for it on 4th down that early.

- Wyatt Teller’s hold late in the second quarter led to a field goal instead of a possible touchdown, also a huge negative play in the game.

  • In the second half, it was almost as if the Falcons realized who was playing defensive line for the Browns. Once they figured it out, they basically just ran the football. This group didn’t really stop anyone:

- Alex Wright was a developmental third-round pick.

- Isaac Rochell was a late free agent addition who was cut and returned to the team’s practice squad when no one wanted to sign him to their active roster.

- Isaiah Thomas was a seventh-round pick that some thought would be unlikely to make the team.

- Jordan Elliott got his first sack in Week 4, in his third season in the league.

- Tommy Togiai barely played as a rookie and is mostly a tweener.

- Perrion Winfrey fell into the fourth round and has already been disciplined by the team.

  • Cleveland’s run defense is dependent on a strong, long defensive line.

- Lighter linebackers are expected to make plays while Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and Taven Bryan are taken up blockers and space.

- Without those long, athletic players upfront, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Jacob Phillips get free blockers on them too often.

  • Without pressure, zones open up too easily and man coverage is expected to last too long.

- The blown coverage was an example of zones continuing to expand while Marcus Mariota scrambled around.

  • Easy to imagine how good the offense could be with a healthy, ready-to-play Deshaun Watson.

- I’d assume the Browns would be 4-0 with Watson running the show.

  • Jacoby Brissett has been fine.

- Expecting him to lift the offense is unrealistic.

- He’s mostly made the plays when they are there and mostly avoided mistakes until the interception that ended the game.

  • Concerning that Amari Cooper could be shut down by 1-on-1 coverage from a top-level cornerback.
  • The offensive line really struggled against the strong Falcons defensive line especially center Ethan Pocic.

- It was tough to find rushing yards until later in the game as Atlanta was moving the line of scrimmage backward quite often.

  • That the AFC North and AFC as a whole haven’t had teams separate themselves is helpful.

- The problem is that this was supposed to be Cleveland’s easy part of the schedule.

- Thankfully, the Los Angeles Chargers lost their left tackle, best pass rusher (Joey Bosa) and a myriad of other players due to injury which should help in Week 5.

- Week 6 could be a little easier against the New England Patriots as well with Mac Jones possibly still out and the team struggling on offense in 2022.

  • Will 6 games of Watson be enough? The next quarter of the season could decide that.