Latest Happenings from the Browns
It’s been a bit since I have shared my feelings regarding the multiple situations surrounding the Cleveland Browns since the end of September. In that time, the Browns have dropped a few contests, the head coach and offensive coordinator were fired, and a handful of players went down via injury. Also, it’s never too early to discuss the 2019 NFL Draft – let’s break it down:
The Losing Continues
In competing with the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the past few games – the orange and brown were matching up with one of the best passing attacks in the league. They went 0-4 in that stretch (though the Bucs game was very winnable for a multitude of reasons). Alas, that was not the case and the team is now 2-6-1 and is staring down another ten loss season plus in 2018. It appears that there will not be much of a let up in the coming weeks, as the team faces the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Carolina Panthers in the near future. Maybe I should just focus on the development by the younger players as opposed to wins and losses in 2018. The new coaches are appearing to putting the team in a spot to win, however.
I cannot buy into the argument that Hue Jackson did not have the players to win games in his two-and-a-half years as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. The Dolphins won games with Brock Osweiler and Nick Mullens is winning in San Francisco this year. I liked the Jackson hire in 2016, but his time was an unmitigated disaster with apparent infighting with both Sashi Brown and Todd Haley. This is not the first time this has occurred within the organization and I am looking for the next guy to be on the same page as both John Dorsey as well as his coaching staff (I cannot believe that the bar is so low at coach that this is the hope).
Linebacker Joe Schobert missed multiple weeks, safety Demarious Randle has been in and out of the lineup via injury, cornerback Terrance Mitchell went on injured reserve in week four, and linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback E.J. Gaines joined the injured reserve last week. If you had not noticed, all of these players are on the defensive side of the football – where the team’s lack of depth is rearing its head. At full strength this is a solid unit that forces many turnovers each contests. Now at the midway point, the defense is featuring reserve players and guys recently picked up off the waiver wire. It will be tough sledding against some of the league’s best offenses going forward.
Where should the Browns focus their resources in next April’s draft? It would appear that they are ok in a few position groups (quarterback, running back, and tight end) – but they could always be supplemented. Continuing to bolster the front seven should be a priority; a rotational defensive lineman would be welcomed to spell Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah in games. The linebackers’ depth is not great and the Browns could use one or two speedy guys who could chase down quarterbacks and receivers cutting across the field. Despite some solid play opposite Denzel Ward, I would not be upset if the Browns found another lockdown cornerback in the draft as well.