The Crazy week 3 Cleveland Browns
Two games down and heading into week three, this season is coming fast and furious. Most are already calling this week three game against the New York Jets a must-win game for coach Jackson, putting all the pressure on veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor in only his second start with the team. Before I get too far into the next matchup, I want to go over the crazy start to this week 3.
Josh Gordon: After six years of this franchise doing everything in its power to help Gordon become the player they drafted so many years ago, he finally pushed his limits and was traded. I do feel partly relieved that after this post I will no longer be embroiled in the Gordon story. While we as fans will never know the complete story, it comes across as more dysfunction.
“You Kicker”: For anyone that doesn’t know, I was a Zane Gonzalez fan from the day he was drafted with the 224th pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Zane was an award-winning placekicker for the Arizona State Sun Devils. With a strong leg and very accoutre, I truly believed at the time the Browns had found a long-term answer. From the day Phil Dawson left in free agency, the Browns have used seven different kickers in an attempt to replace one of the best. With Zane, the story doesn’t just end with his four failed attempts against the Saints. Instead, the much bigger story is looming in the background. The Browns put out a statement that Zane was playing with a groin injury the day of his release. The key to this was his release without an injury destination. Under Article XII of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a player must be compensated. Adam Schefter reported that Zane would undergo an MRI on Monday when the Browns could release him (that did happen), then place him on waivers. Normal practice would be that if he cleared waivers he would be placed back on IR and then it would be up to the Browns to either keep him or pay the claim. This may all be nothing, but it’s something I am watching for.
“You Kicker” part 2: On Monday the Browns signed Greg Joseph. Joseph will be wearing #17. He comes to the Browns via Florida Atlantic University and the Miami Dolphins. Joseph did not have a great college career but he does have a strong leg. During his first presser with the Cleveland Browns, Joseph stated that he was part of a kicking competition. During the kick-off he missed a 56-yard attempt, but was able to make it on the do-over. Another fine point he made was kicking in cold weather. Greg listed himself playing in Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky. I hate to break it to the young man, but that’s not cold weather. I would think that John Dorsey will continue to keep looking for an upgrade at that position.
The Offense: Prior to the Saints game, a big deal was made of the perfect condition for Tyrod Taylor and how everyone would finally see what a great quarterback he is. Well, that didn’t happen, and Twitter went crazy wondering why Todd Haley used such a conservative game plan. Thanks to the wonderful people at NextGen stats I was able to track every ball throw by Tyrod. With 30 attempts Tyrod was able to complete 22 with one touchdown and one Interception. What NextGen doesn’t tell you is the 3 fumbles along with 3 sacks. Of the 30 attempts 19, or 63%, were 10 yards or less.14 of the 19, or 73%, were 5 yards or less. Of the 11 thrown past 10 yards, Tyrod only completed 5, or 45%, including one touchdown and one interception. This is a normal game for Tyrod Taylor and we have three years worth of data to back that up. If you’re a defensive coordinator and only have one job—to beat Tyrod—it’s not rocket science: you stack the deck. This is not going to change and fans need to understand that every yard the offense gets will be a battle. Todd Haley did a masterful job of working with what he has. In all the years I’ve been a Browns fan, I have never watched a coach change the game plan in one week to one that almost won us the game. In the perfect conditions of the Superdome, this is the best quarterback play we will get.
The Defense: I’m not sure how much better this part of the team can get, but so far amazing comes to mind. If anything I do worry about the current snap counts and the effect it could have on star Myles Garrett. With the 149 snaps taken so far, Garrett has played 99.33% of them. Hue Jackson has made numerous statements regarding the amount of playing time each person should get. From “we can’t work these guy too hard,” as duly noted in Hard Knocks, to using snaps as some form of punishment for Callaway. When John Dorsey made a choice to release players like Carl Nassib he also left the team with lesser talent. The main replacement was rookie draft pick Chad Thomas, who has only played in 6.67% of the snaps. Coach Jackson made a personal request to Garret to be more involved with the team and play more downs. But in a later presser he talked about not using Garrett up too early in the season. Emmanuel Ogbah is out once again with an injury, so that workload will fall on Chris Smith. I have full faith in Smith’s ability to handle this, but at some point, the player rotation will need to happen.
Hue Jackson: From day one, coach Jackson wanted to avoid a quarterback controversy. He named Tyrod the started right from the start and did everything in his power to protect him. He even went as far as rotating out the defense from the first team, to second, and even third to help Tyrod finally score in training camp. He talked down other players while bolstered Tyrod to make sure that Mayfield didn’t stand a chance. When preseason came, and it was clear that Mayfield gave the Browns more talent to work with, Hue Jackson then started changing out his unit so no chemistry was ever built. I said then, and will repeat it now, that the Browns can no longer protect Tyrod from the quarterback he really is. I have watched as the receivers show emotions of frustration when Tyrod takes the check down instead of making a throw because he needs them to be completely wide open. After each game, coach Jackson has placed the blame on the entire offensive unit. Instead of explaining this is the style of quarterback Tyrod has been. In my opinion this is not fair to either Tyrod or the fan base.
Thursday night, the Browns will face off against the Jets. While there is a lot is riding on this game for Hue Jackson, I can also say the same for Todd Bowles. The Jets released Teddy Bridgewater and went all in on Sam Darnold after a well-planned quarterback competition. Coming off a loss in week 2, coach Bowles knows he is also on the hot seat. This is a prime-time game against a very strong 5th ranked Jets defense. The short game best suited for Tyrod isn’t going to work. Last year Tyrod was only able to throw for two touchdowns but also took 7 sacks for a 34-21 loss. This year Tyrod has the weight of not only his future, but that of coach Jackson’s riding on his shoulders. Plus, the Browns are favored to win for the first time in many years.
As I see it right now, the only chance the Browns have at winning this game is for our defense to play lights-out and win it alone. I truly hope I am wrong about everything and Tyrod has the best game of his career. All I want is the Browns to bring home that W at home this week. Go Browns!
Written By: @Chadp71
Edited By: @Robzie_