Well, the first game of the season did not go as planned for the Cleveland Browns. No coach schemes up losing 38-6. The good thing for Coach Stefanski, maybe, is that the Browns get a quick turnaround and face Joe Burrow and the Bengals Thursday night. So what will it take to leave First Energy Stadium with a Win?
RUN THE DANG BALL!!
This is something you will see from every Browns fan out there. That should be the mantra every week but after the Bengals were gashed for 155 yards on the ground by the Chargers coach needs to keep it on the ground. Keep in mind that was without two starting linemen out in Trai Turner and Mike Pouncey.
Kareem Hunt and Chubb need to have the ball in their hands a minimum of 35 times Thursday. Against a talented defense Sunday, the duo combined for 132 yards on 23 carries, an average of 5.73 yards per carry. Even if you fall behind, stick with the run as long as possible. It will pay off.
The Bengals are not the Ravens. Joe Burrow is not Lamar Jackson. The ground game needs to lead the way to a win Thursday and take the pressure off everyone heading into a long break before game three.
Baker must be better
A lot of people want to see rookie Baker Mayfield again. What we really need to see is just a better Baker Mayfield. He does not have to try to make a big play or thread the needle to get the ball to Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, or any other pass catcher. All Mayfield needs to do is find the open man in this system and throw it to them. It sounds simple, but he had trouble with it Sunday, and they had guys open underneath on multiple pass plays. He spent a lot of time looking downfield, waiting for whoever to come open. Make the easy throw for now, and the rest will come.
Stop Joe Mixon
This is not brain surgery. If you want to stop the Bengals offense, you must stop Joe Mixon. If the Browns front seven can keep the Mixon in check and force Burrow to carry the load, that should be a good thing. No matter how good you think a rookie is, he is still just a rookie.
The Chargers defense held Mixon to 69 yards on 16 carries, and they won. Yes, it was a last-minute field goal miss that allowed it to happen, but they also have some issues to work out on offense. Mixon ran for 1137 yards last season along with five touchdowns. He gained 306 of those yards and three of those touchdowns against the Browns. They must be better than that Thursday to win.
Confuse the rookie
According to all the grades and metrics you could ask for, the defensive front had a solid game Sunday. The secondary was just the opposite, and must play better. Defensive coordinator Joe Woods can help that cause by scheming some blitzes and coverages that confuse the Bengals prize rookie Joe Burrow. Last year the Browns saw undrafted quarterbacks beat them. A good NFL team doesn’t let any rookie quarterback beat them. Stop Joe Mixon on the ground and confuse Joe Burrow, and the night will end at 1-1.
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