Five Ways to Get Back on Track
As much as last week’s debacle hurt, Sunday’s game is another shot to get the team into the win column. Many parts of the roster must improve tremendously – but that is just a small part of what needs to occur. The Browns simply need to excel in many facets, but what are those areas? Let’s take a look at the home opener against the Titans.
#1 – Avoid Penalties
It seemed like every time the Browns did something great, there was a penalty flag on the field that followed. This offense simply is not good enough to overcome these types of errors (especially fifteen yard infractions). Hopefully they can limit their penalties to less than a handful, doing so will give them a shot at beating the Titans. The offense looked like a well-oiled machine on the opening drive, before McCown’s fumble – not committing infractions certainly helped with that.
#2 – Rush Marcus Mariota
Yes he tossed four touchdown passes in his first NFL game; however, the Browns’ defense should still focus on disrupting the rookie’s timing in the pocket. I want to see Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo crash off the edge and garner multiple sacks. This will make the game much harder for the visiting team, as well as give the Browns a boost in the field position battle.
#3 – Protect the Ball
As much as I like the team’s defense, they cannot be put into poor situations time after time. Whether it’s heaving interceptions or getting stripped sacked, the signal caller for the Browns must make sure his team finishes plays with the ball in their hands. I worry that this will be a recurring theme all year long, but I would not mind being proven wrong.
#4 – Correct the Defensive Issues
Once again the Browns’ inability to stop the opposition from running the football with ease was on display last contest. The unit must shake this long-term funk they are in – but it will not be easy next Sunday against Bishop Sankey. I do not know if this is something that can be taught, or if the guys just need an attitude adjustment; but they cannot continue to surrender many yards on the ground.
#5 – Pound between the Tackles
Another issue that the Browns cannot seem to shake is rushing the football consistently. When the team’s top two rushers were quarterbacks, that is not a recipe for success. The coaching staff must stay committed to Isaiah Crowell, even if he has a slow start. A sprinkling of Duke Johnson (provided he knows what he’s doing) should be included in the game plan as well. If this part of the Browns’ game cannot get going, we will see many results similar to what happened in the opener.
Conclusion: I’m not as confident in this game as I was for the opener – and that did not go well. Nothing would surprise me though; be it a two-touchdown victory or loss – but the former would be welcomed by this fan.