Here we go again, another week done in the 2017 NFL season and yet another loss for the Cleveland Browns. They now sit rock-bottom of the NFL as being the worst team in the league by far! They haven’t managed to win a single game this season and, let’s be honest, haven’t even looked close to winning one either. The Browns have been bad for a long time now but this is by far the worst they have been as far as I can remember. It’s the fact that they haven’t even looked capable of competing at this level and haven’t looked like they can get a win that bothers me the most. I know they are in full rebuild mode, but I’d have liked to have seen more improvements by week 13 than I have done. They just look like a completely lost cause right now.
This week they travelled out to LA to take on the LA Chargers at the StubHub Center in front of 25,320 fans. Things started ok for the Browns but, as usual, the wheels came off not too far into the game and they, yet again, came out of the game with a loss, this time by the score of 19-10.
Cleveland Browns Passing Game
I’m not convinced that Josh Gordon has come back to the game for any other reason than the fact that he’s run out of money, I’ll be upfront about that and say that I’m not convinced he’ll be around much after he’s signed his next contract and been given a large amount of cash in guarantees. I was, however, pleased to see that he looked good out on the field of play and was the best receiver the Browns had in this game. Is this a sign that he’s still got it even though he’s not played since the end of 2014? It’s too early to tell yet but he certainly looked good at getting himself space and grabbing passes and battling with defenders for yards after the catch. I’ll be honest and say that I liked what I saw from him but I’m just not sold on whether it will continue for seasons to come or not.
Having Gordon on the field might have been a reason that, to me, more of the receivers showed flashes of good play. When DeShone Kizer can actually get the ball to them they can actually play…yes, really. Remember, I did say when Kizer can get the ball to them which isn’t very often as his accuracy is a big issue and his seeming inability to make a decision in the pocket and get the ball out to his targets is still frustrating to watch. I get the impression he’s been given free choice to run with the ball himself if he wants as he seems to be doing that far too often now instead of standing in the pocket, diagnosing the development of the play and slinging the ball downfield. Like I say, when he does do that, his passes are too often under- or over-thrown.
I for one have got to week 13 of this season and feel that it’s time for me to say that I really don’t feel that Kizer is ‘the guy’ to take the Browns forward. I wouldn’t sling him on the trash heap with all the other QB’s that have suffered a similar fate, but he needs a season or two as a backup before being given another chance either in Cleveland or somewhere else. There just hasn’t been enough improvement from the guy to make me think he’s got what it takes…it’s a simple as that for me and is why I say what I say.
He completed less than 50% of his passes again, was intercepted as many times as he threw TD’s (one each), was sacked 3 times and currently sits dead last in the passer rating column for NFL QB’s with a 58.1 rating (he’s the only one in the 50’s).
Yes, there are excuses for him as he’s only 21 etc. and that’s why he shouldn’t be scrapped but should instead be given time to mature into the league behind a veteran who I think the Browns should pursue in the offseason (Kirk Cousins or Eli Manning, anyone?).
But, yeah, back to this game. I liked what I saw from Josh Gordon, David Njoku and Seth DeValve as they did well when thrown to. Gordon was the top receiver catching 4 passes for 85 yards. He was targetted 11 times, so to only make 4 receptions may sound bad but how much of that is on him and how much on Kizer? Njoku grabbed 4 of his 6 targets for an 18.5-yard average and a TD, which I love coming from a TE! The other TE, Seth DeValve, was also solid with his 2 catches for a 16.5-yard average.
Kenny Britt did ok by catching 2 of his 3 targets for a total of 10-yards but he’s still to prove he’s worth all that money he’s being paid. He strikes me as just going through the motions and doing just enough to keep a job. I’d like to see him gone in the offseason and replaced by a certain Mr Terrelle Pryor (yes, I’d take him back in an instant for one more chance).
Yet again I’m not really talking about the game itself and instead am just banging on about what is/might be wrong with the team but, to be honest, the Cleveland Browns are difficult to watch these days and it’s difficult to talk about anything other than how bad they are and why they might be so bad.
A slightly worry sign on defence (apart from how bad they looked again in both the run and pass game) was the sight of DE Myles Garrett limping off to the sideline again after a play. He did continue to play but I did notice him grimacing pre-play later in the game. I’ve not seen anything about this since the game so I’m hoping everything is ok and he’ll be available next week when the Browns take on the Green Bay Packers at home.
Anyway, there we have it, the NFL season is rapidly advancing towards the end and my tolerance levels for watching the Cleveland Browns these days are being tested to the max as there is no sign of that elusive first win of the season anywhere. Could they actually go 0-16 this year? I think it is very likely. Would I be bothered if they sacked Hue Jackson? Not one bit.