Cleveland Browns issues, particularly on offense, are fixable. They forgot who they are.

Pete Smith

The Cleveland Browns got humiliated in their game against the Tennessee Titans, but much of what they fell victim to is fixable, particularly on offense.

First, the penalties; specifically the five unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. They simply have to eliminate those. That can't happen and if they don't get dealt with, the Browns will keep losing and the organization will be forced to look at making major changes to address them.

The other major issue is play calling. It was strange that before the game Freddie Kitchens said they wanted to establish the run, as generic as that is, and then came out and didn't run it at all. When they finally did, Nick Chubb was effective. Some of that was penalties and being put behind the sticks, but on a number of occasions, including an early 3rd-down-and-1, they simply chose not to.

The other part of the play calling was how often the Browns seemed to be calling longer pass drops, despite their struggles in pass protection at the tackle spots and then reshuffling the tackles after an ejection and injuries. Combining that with how Baker Mayfield held onto the ball too long at times and then pressed late, it had Mayfield taking too many hits and the offense didn't get in a flow outside of the first drive.

There were some successes doing that including the second touchdown drive, but it wasn't a product of great offensive design so much as it was Mayfield and Jarvis Landry making a pair of plays. It was like Mayfield transformed into Aaron Rodgers holding onto the ball forever and then making it work after the designed part of the play was over.

The Browns are simply too talented to need to operate this way. Freddie Kitchens said after the game he's going to do a better job as a play caller. Mayfield is at his best when he operates in rhythm, gets the ball out on time beating the defense to their spot and frustrating the pass rush. He can be special when he has to make plays outside of structure, but that can't be the entire offense. The Titans defense was good, but so much of this was self inflicted.

Both Mayfield and Kitchens have to adjust. Mayfield can't try to be a hero on every play. If for no other reason, he can look at how often Rodgers gets drilled in Green Bay and how many times he's battling through pain and injury. But Kitchens has to run the ball more and do more in terms of a quicker passing game to slow down the pass rush.

What makes this galling is that the offense they ran yesterday, outside of the first drive, never resembled the offense they had last year or had practiced this year and that may be the biggest clue as to why the game got so out of control. The biggest failure for Kitchens and his staff in this game offensively is they got away from who they are and that more than anything else is going to bother them. They will likely address these issues and come out against the New York Jets looking far more like the offense the team had at the end of last year.

Comments (1)
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Thump 191
Thump 191

Play calling and penalties can be fixed. While your at it, replace 2 maybe 3 of your offensive lineman with practice squad players and you may have a better chance keeping Mayfield on his feet. The current level of talent on the OL is a joke.

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