The Cleveland Browns’ season has not gone according to plan. The team is a 2-6 disaster and the end doesn’t seem to be in sight. Prior to the 2019 NFL season the Cleveland Browns did a complete 180 as a franchise, trading and signing supreme talent to their roster with names like Odell Beckham Jr., Kareem Hunt and Olivier Vernon.
After acquiring their new talent, some projected the Browns to be Super Bowl favorites and quarterback Baker Mayfield was a preseason MVP frontrunner.
Unfortunately the devil is in the details and signing a top-five running back and wide receiver doesn’t make you title contenders, especially when your first-team, all-pro left tackle retires and you trade your next-best lineman in Kevin Zeitler. Offensive line play is the most underrated need in the NFL, but a poorly run franchise like Cleveland doesn’t seem to understand that.
The Browns’ blame pie has plenty of slices to go around but Mayfield and Cleveland coach Freddie Kitchens are eating over half by themselves. Mayfield has been a turnover machine and hasn’t been accurate with the football — accuracy supposedly being his forte. Mayfield seems distracted by the everyday Twitter and media attention he receives being the former first overall pick to the point he is worried about the appearance of his mustache over his play on the field.
Kitchens is just completely underqualified to be a head coach in the NFL. Blown timeouts, going for it on fourth downs and on pace to be the most penalized team in history, the Browns really wet the bed on this hire. Kitchens had been calling plays in the league for only half a season before he was promoted to the position, and it shows.
While players and coaches eat the blame pie, the chef — owner Jimmy Haslam — deserves an honorable mention for the dumpster fire that is the Cleveland Browns. Haslam, outside of New York Knicks owner James Dolan, is the biggest joke in American sports today. Haslam is so bad and ignorant to the sport. He has not only nosedived his own franchise but also his alma mater, Tennessee, where he is the biggest booster and has a strong voice inside the university and its football program.
Haslam had a small minority stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2008-2012 before having to sell it to buy the Browns. Since his arrival in Cleveland, his teams have posted a combined 21-75-1 prior to this season — not exactly playoff material.
If the Cleveland Browns want to be a good football team, they have to move on from Kitchens and Haslam has to sell the team. Hunt and Beckham Jr. are freakish talents who will be wasted if the ship doesn’t get turned around fast. Mayfield needs a mentor who can use his pocket presence and accuracy to get the ball into his playmakers’ hands and let them do the rest.
The Dawgs’ defense has been good but has been banged up in the secondary throughout the year. The Browns are not a lost cause and actually do have the talent to push for a title, but winning starts at the top with good leadership which they lack desperately right now. With Kitchens it’s a matter of when — not if — he gets fired. And when he does, I think Arizona State coach Herm Edwards would be a fantastic fit for a football team that lacks any sort of discipline.