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1) Should Browns fans feel encouraged or discouraged following the week 3 loss to the Rams?
Big $ - Life is about expectations. If you expected "Chinese Democracy' to rub elbows with "Appetite" you were crushed with disgust. However, if like myself, you were ready for a record showcasing Axl's varied musical tastes and interests while creating with a new cast, you got yourself a nice little surprise (Better is one of GNR's all time songs fyi). In the Browns case, if you were expecting a super bowl contender or even a team that could make noise in the playoffs, the only way to feel is discouraged. You have a first time HC and a QB that has yet to play a full season who are showing brutal growing pains. Opposing teams are better prepared and better equipped to make adjustments. I fully expect this bumpy ride to continue through the 1st half of the season, which will make it tough for a playoff run to exist, If you're one of the few Browns fans who entered the season level headed with a clear memory that this team was a combined 8-39-1 over the last 3 years, the narrow loss to the reigning NFC champs is encouraging. Think about the 1986 Browns loss to the reigning Super Bowl Champ Chicago Bears which was a jump-start to the Bernie/Marty era.
2) Though it’s only week four, this game against the Ravens feels very big. Does that sound crazy?
Big $ - Once again, its about perspective. This game is an absolute must win if the Browns are going to start a playoff trajectory. We 100% have to see offensive changes specifically related to route trees and pre-snap communication between Baker and Freddie. I'm aware that the internet unearthed that Baker made the 4th and 9 audible call, but things were a mess prior to the snap, Monken has no choice but to compromise his "air raid' sensibilities to better fit this roster's strengths. If we do not start to see these changes/improvements this week, things are only going to get worse (like 1-6 bad). After the distressing last 4 plays from last Sunday night, i am firmly in the wait and see camp as there has yet to be concrete proof that this offense and its parts can mesh