As the Cleveland Browns look to salvage the rest of their season, fans struggle to stay engaged with the team at some level. Browns fans don’t have the playoffs to look forward to or even a late-season push but also don’t have a first-round pick to hang their future hopes on as well.
Thankfully, Cleveland fans are the greatest, most passionate and most loyal fans in all of American sports. When Joe Burrow says they should jump onto Cincinnati’s bandwagon, the response was overwhelming: ‘This is my team and it will be until I die.’
That passion and dedication doesn’t make it easy to continue to watch a team full of talented players lose games.
With the Baltimore Ravens in town for Week 15, the Browns will have a chance to even their record against their division rival this year. Cleveland is 1-1 against the Bengals, 1-0 versus Pittsburgh and 0-1 against Baltimore so far this year. A win this week and beating the Steelers again allow them to finish over .500 in the division in 2022.
Small victories but important ones.
For this week’s StoryStream, we will focus on worries instead of what we have been doing recently with our “turn the page” model. Here are a few of our weekly worries going into the game with all of our coverage for this week linked following:
Are Players Engaged?
Perhaps the biggest sign that coaches are getting through to players is if they stay engaged even when the postseason is, almost completely, out of reach. Many will try to analyze body language and anything we consider “effort” related in this week’s AFC North game. Understandable worry that some players will not be fully locked in.
Another Backup’s Time to Thrive
Lamar Jackson is likely out for the game but Tyler Huntley has already returned to practice. Huntley has played in 12 games, including five starts, in his two-plus season in the NFL. Last year, in seven games (four starts), he completed 65% of his passes with three TDs and four INTs. Against the Browns, Huntley completed 71% of his passes for 270 yards with one touchdown and no picks. He also ran for 45 yards.
Despite Jackson being out, Huntley is a huge threat to Cleveland’s defense especially as the Ravens get J.K. Dobbins back up to speed.
Will Watson Press?
Deshaun Watson agrees that he has not been as good as he needs to be. With the rest of the season basically about him, will he start to press to do too much and make things worse? Overgripping the ball, trying to make the big play instead of the smart play and extending plays he shouldn’t all are worries the rest of the season as the pressure mounts.
Sports are supposed to be fun. Now that Cleveland is basically eliminated from the playoffs, fans are naturally focusing on what has gone wrong, what could have been and what needs to change. If Sunday’s game starts slow and/or the team loses, how the fans react will be very interesting. Despite Watson’s suspension, many fans had high expectations for the team. Those expectations won’t be reached so how might they respond Sunday if the game isn’t going well?
I want fans to enjoy as much about sports and life as they can. I worry that many won’t be able to unless the team is controlling the game and win on Sunday.
Don’t forget to check out all of our coverage below for this week’s game
What worries do you have this week?