What the hell happened against the Titans and who/what is to blame?
Big $ - A catastrophe such as the week 1 debacle usually has several components that contribute to the disaster. This particular S- Show can be boiled to two specific issues: Building outside in, and inexperience at the HC spot. The NCP warned you that focusing on the glitz and glam outside of the hash marks and dismissing the importance of the OL could be the downfall of this team. Then Sunday comes and we see Teller and Corbett inactive. It’s hard to disagree that trotting out practice squad players on the offensive edges ended up killing the offensive scheme (and almost led to a Baker injury). I do not foresee Greg Robinson acting a total fool again, but I still think the lack of depth/quality on the Offensive Line will be an on-going theme in 2019.
To blame in this case: Dorsey
The second issue was one the NCP did not see coming. All summer, I was more than happy to drink the Freddie Kool Aid. “If you don’t wear Brown and Orange, yada yada yada” was all it took for us starved fans to be ready to run through a wall for him. His southern shucks attitude had us forget that the guy was only a RB coach a short time ago. Then Sunday comes and CBS starts reminding us of his used car salesman background and things start coming into focus Keyser Soze style. A team that was disorganized, unprepared and lacked focus came out of the tunnel. The play calling was erratic at best and downright fire-able at its worst. The biggest indictment was that when the chips were down the team lacked heart and appeared to quit. This is a lot of BS to overcome in a week, but I am truly hoping that we witnessed an aberration. If not, there is a better chance Freddie hits the unemployment line than a playoff berth in 2019.
To blame in this case: Freddie Kitchens
What should we expect Monday night vs the Jets?
The Ice Cube – Honestly, who the hell knows after the performance in the opener. Last week, the total yards and time of possession were nearly identical, and although the Browns were a poor 1 for 10 on third-down conversions, Tennessee only converted on 2 out of 10. And … Cleveland lost by 30. Sure, Baker’s 3 interceptions didn’t help, but the biggest issue was the penalty yardage. The Browns were flagged 18 times for 182 yards, a large chunk of which was of the personal foul variety. That is insane! The lack of discipline was truly stunning, and the penalties continually kept drives alive for the Titans and really prevented Cleveland from getting any rally going. The margin of error in the NFL is small, and the Browns simply can’t afford to lose their collective shit.
The good news is that this week’s game presents the best possible opportunity to get back on track. Although the Monday Night Game is on the road, the Jets are at a low point and primed for a kick in the ribs. ICYMI, QB Sam Darnold is out with mono. Former Northwestern Wildcat Trevor Siemian will be under center. He hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2017, and his career TD to INT ratio is about even. Siemian will also be standing behind an offensive line that has only ever played one game together—giving up 4 sacks in a loss to Buffalo. The Browns had 5 sacks last week and frequently pressured Marcus Mariotta, which should to continue against this Jets line. Because of the opportunity to pressure a rusty backup, I also expect the Browns to get a turnover or 2, after getting zero last week. The defense will be without safety Damarius Randall, though, who is out with a concussion.
Even better news is that New York’s star linebacker C.J. Mosley, who often tormented Cleveland as a member of the Ravens, is also out because of injury. In addition to being a tackling machine, he is strong against the pass. His absence could allow the Browns to control the clock with the running game, and it could open up passing lanes in the middle of the field. Look for tight end David Njoku to get some more targets this week.
Also, New York’s kicking game is just as bad as Cleveland’s. They cut their kicker last week after he missed an extra point and a field goal in their one-point loss. If Monday’s game turns into a battle of field goals, the Browns will not be at a disadvantage.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed in this game, but other than a home game against the Dolphins, right now I cannot think of a better chance for Cleveland to rebound than Monday’s game versus New York. If Cleveland puts on a showing like it did last week, this season will get really ugly, really quickly.
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