The Cleveland Browns were a trendy pick to potentially win the AFC and compete for a Super Bowl this year. Armed with a metric ton of talent on both sides of the ball, something that was bolstered by the offseason addition of Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland had the look of a team ready to make the leap, even if they had a first-year head coach in Freddie Kitchens.
Instead, the Browns look like they’re going to miss the playoffs altogether. While the defense hasn’t been out of this world, the biggest surprise has been the struggles on the offensive side of the ball. The thought was that Cleveland’s mix of a talented young quarterback in Baker Mayfield, a loaded stable of running backs, and a bunch of exciting pass catching options would lead to a whole lot of points. That hasn’t happened, as evidenced by the team sitting 18th in yards per game and 21st in points per game.
A new piece by Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com shined a light on what’s going on. Citing multiple sources within the organization, the team’s “poorly designed and poorly run” offense is viewed as “dysfunctional.” In fact, the sources went as far as telling Cabot that these issues will persist “unless changes are made in terms of coaching, scheme or playcalling.”
One of the major issues stems from how the offense is run, as a whole lot of voices make their voices heard on what the Browns should do.
There’s a disconnect between offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who answers for the offense every Thursday and has jokingly called it his weekly “dentist appointment,” and Kitchens, who calls the plays on game day with input from Monken, quarterbacks coach Ryan Lindley, and some say even inactive quarterback Drew Stanton.
Some say the quarterbacks have too much influence, and others say there are too many cooks in with Kitchens on game day. They tried to clear the air midseason, but it apparently didn’t do much good.
There are other obvious issues, like Mayfield’s ongoing sophomore slump or the fact that the team’s offensive line has been up-and-down. But the fact that all the talent on their offense hasn’t come together has been a gigantic issue, especially considering the expectations that were heaped onto the Browns at the start of the year. Add to all of this that Beckham (along with his pal in the receiving corps, Jarvis Landry) has expressed frustrations with how this season has gone and questions are invariably going to pop up about what has to change for Cleveland to eventually make the leap.