At 2-2, the Cleveland Browns have failed everyone’s expectations with their easy schedule to start the season. Their two saving graces are that the rest of the AFC North is a mess and one of their victories was in the division giving them a leg up on the other teams.
Watching the Browns lose to the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons presented mostly fixable problems. Despite fans wanting massive changes on defense, play calling and special teams, Cleveland seems set to stick with what they have.
One of, if not the, biggest negative play for the team in Week 4 was TE David Njoku’s fumble that led to a Falcons touchdown on a short field. Atlanta went two full quarters before scoring again as the Browns defense shut them down.
Then the Falcons remembered that the opposing defensive line was very short on talent and bodies and just ran the ball down their throats.
Njoku believes in the team and thinks they can fix their problems. “I believe so, yes,” Njoku said. “I believe every mistake we made is 100 percent fixable.”
Anyone watching the games logically agrees with Njoku. Cleveland has beaten themselves in various ways in their two losses and made their two wins closer than they needed to be.
Unfortunately for Njoku and the Browns, the next portion of the schedule doesn’t seem to have the Panthers, Jets, Steelers and Falcons of the NFL world on it. Instead, Cleveland faces what looks like seven straight teams that could be playoff contenders:
- Los Angeles Chargers
- New England Patriots
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Miami Dolphins
- Buffalo Bills
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Even if the team is able to take care of the fixable problems as Njoku believes, their opponents will be a step up in talent. While the Browns are also loaded with talent, it hasn’t been enough to overcome their mistakes. Even if they fix those huge mistakes, getting two or three victories in the next seven might be considered a success.
After that seven-game gauntlet, QB Deshaun Watson can return to the field for Cleveland. His immense talent, based on the last time he was on the field, is needed to take the team to the next level. The next step, however, doesn’t involve Watson. It involves fixed mistakes, consistency of decision making and, hopefully, a few surprise wins in the next two months.
Njoku believes the problems are fixable, do you? Against that seven-game stretch?