Troubling Start to the Season for the Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns have begun their season with a disappointing 1-2 record. They need to fix certain issues in order to keep their hopes alive.


Erik Drost [CC BY 2.0 (]

Baker Mayfield and the Browns head into the season optimistic, but after a few troubling games their season is in jeapardy.

Odell Beckham Jr., who was on the Giants last year, prepares for a game.

The Cleveland Browns and their supporters came into the 2019-2020 season with high expectations. During the 2018-2019 season, after only winning 4 games from 2015 to 2017, the Browns went 7-8-1, having a decent season compared to recent years. Actually, they should have ended with a much better record, only blowing most of their losses by a missed field goal or a bad play.

With the addition of Odell Beckham Jr., one of the best receivers in the NFL, and Baker Mayfield coming back from an electric first season as quarterback for the Browns, Browns fans had high hopes for the 2019-2020 season. Freddie Kitchens was also promoted to head coach, but it seems as if all of these moves have backfired.

Their first game against the Titans showed how unprepared they were. The Browns, who most people expected to win, disappointed their fans, dashing their high hopes. After going up 6-3 in the first quarter, the Browns began to fall apart. In the second quarter the Titans scored 9 points and the Browns didn’t score. Although they were only down 15-3 at halftime, the Browns went on to lose 43-13. They had not only been beat by a team that most believed they were better than, they had been humiliated at home on the first game of the season.

Their next game was against the New York Jets, one of the worst teams in the league. The Browns needed this win to help them forget about their terrible loss to the Titans. Baker Mayfield threw for 325 yards, leading the Browns to a 23-3 win. It wasn’t an impressive victory, but it was a shot in the arm after their anticlimactic start.

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The Browns next game was going to be by far their hardest game of the season so far. They played the Rams, who were the runner-up last season, losing the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots. The Rams went into this with a record of 2-0, while the Browns were 1-1. Surprisingly, it was a very close game, decided by a single touchdown. The Browns were down 20-13 and on a final drive. Sadly, they weren’t able to convert a touchdown to tie this game and go into overtime, being stopped on fourth down. This put them at a record of 1-2 in the first couple games of the season. In order to get back on track to make the playoffs, the Browns are going to need to make some changes.

Based on these first few games, a lot of the blame can be put on the offense. Baker Mayfield, the quarterback, has had a rough year after a stellar rookie season. Although he’s been having a lot of trouble, the main issue has been getting sacked or rushing passes. The Browns are lacking a good offensive line, so players on the defensive line are putting a lot of pressure on Mayfield. With less time to pass, he is making sloppy throws, which explains his 5 interceptions thrown so far this season. The offensive line has also allowed Mayfield to be sacked 11 times, 5 of those being in the first game. The other very apparent problem with the Brown’s offense is the coaching staff. With bad play calling late in the game, the coaching staff is partly to blame for their close loss to the Rams. Minus a good offense, the Browns probably won’t be playoff contenders this season.

Opinions about the Browns’ rough start vary from fan to fan. Terry Holbert, a football player for Lafayette High School, believes that the root of the problems start with Baker Mayfield. Last year, Mayfield showed out and put together a great rookie performance throughout the season. This season, he has put doubts about his future in Cleveland. Another student that I interviewed, Colton Ruby, blamed the dysfunctional coaching staff. Either way, the Browns have a lot of work to do in order to get their team back on track.

All hope is not lost though! The Cleveland Browns still have a great, young team. With most teams like this, players might take a couple of games to learn exactly how to play with each other. If all of the pieces fall into place before too much of the season goes by, the Browns will be fine. So, even though the Browns have had a rocky start to their 2019-2020 season, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see them contending in the playoffs this year.