Tough days are nothing new to fans of the Cleveland Browns, but today was the newest in a long list of embarrassing losses. Sure, Watson did not play and we all know Chubb is out. However, the drop-off should not be this severe.
Reality Check on Both Sides of the Ball
Getting blown out at home against a Division rival is far from ideal, and today provided some interesting insights on the Cleveland Browns as a team.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a 5th Round Rookie
Despite showing promise throughout the preseason, today was an unfortunate reminder that Dorian Thompson-Robinson is indeed a 5th round rookie who is not currently capable of leading an NFL team to a win. In fairness to him, he was not exactly set up for success.
First off, Deshaun Watson’s status was unclear but he never truly seemed in doubt until Friday. Dorian Thompson-Robinson got the majority of reps at practice throughout the week as a result of Watson being limited, but the consensus was that Watson would still play. However, once PJ Walker was upgraded from the practice squad it became clear there was a good chance the Browns would be without their starting quarterback.
Wake Up Call On Defense
Fewest yards allowed after the first three games since 1970:— Dan Murphy (@DMurph_BrownsPR) September 25, 2023
1. Buccaneers 430 in 1999
2. Lions 431 in 1970
3. @Browns 491 in 2023
4. Oilers 512 in 1976
Coming into the game, the Cleveland Browns defense was on an historic pace having only given up a total of 491 in the first three games of the season. Today, the Browns defense allowed 296 yards by the Baltimore Ravens offense. The lack of offensive production definitely played a role in the defensive struggle for the Browns, but the Ravens were able to move the ball early in the game.
Major Scare with Myles
Not all hope is lost for the Browns defense, it’s just one game in the end. However, there was a very scary moment for Browns Fans when Myles Garrett was left lying on the field in pain. Thankfully Myles was able to return to the game for a few plays, though he was reportedly seen wearing a walking boot after the game. Based on the video, he seemed to roll his ankle a bit while completing a tackle on Ravens QB Lamar Jackson.
On a positive note, the ProFootballDoc seems to think Myles was suffering more so from exhaustion than an ankle issue Let’s hope he’s right, though the reported walking boot implies there could be some issues. Luckily for the Browns they are heading into their bye week, so both Watson and Garrett will have some time to get healthy ahead of their upcoming matchup against the San Francisco 49ers following the bye.
Kevin Stefanski is Consistently Inconsistent
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has been incredibly consistent when it comes to being inconsistent. The 2023 NFL season has started in rollercoaster fashion for the Browns. Blowout win over Bengals to start the season. Then embarrassing loss in prime time to the Steelers. Bounce back and beat the doors off Tennessee. Today, team looks lost and unprepared in lopsided loss to Baltimore.
As a head coach, I don’t mind Stefanski. With that said, I would prefer that he hire an offensive coordinator that can take over play calling duty. There’s a lot of moving parts when coaching an NFL football game, and it’s hard to be successful while focussed on multiple tasks.
The #Browns are not a well coached team.— Roberto Shenanigans (@Rob_Shenanigans) October 1, 2023
The last 3 seasons have consistently felt like one step forward, two steps back for Kevin Stefanski. He just can't string together 3-4 games where he looks like a competent head coach of a well run team playing up to its potential.
Even though I would prefer it if Stefanski hired an OC to call the offense, I do not want to fire him as head coach. I don’t love the results by any means, but I do remember how bad it was prior. There was a stretch where the team won 3 games in 3 years. Sure, the roster was not the best but bad coaching definetly contributed. Just think Hugh Jackson.
Still Plenty of Season Left
This is no time to hit the panic button Browns fans. The team is 2-2 heading into the bye, one game behind the Ravens in the AFC North. Next up is a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. After that game, the schedule lightens a bit with road games against the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks before heading home to host the Arizona Cardinals.
It would be great if the team could be 4-4 or better following that stretch of games, while staying within a game of the division lead. It’s easy to get caught up in the highs and lows throughout the season, but it’s important to remember that the road to the Super Bowl is more of a marathon than a sprint.