The state of the Cleveland Browns is not in an ideal spot right now. In the off season they were one of the most hyped up teams heading into the 2019 season, since then all the hype has died. Now that the team is an underwhelming 2-6 the finger pointing has began. The team has looked awful so far asides from the special teams unit. So the question needs to be asked, who is to blame? Is it Baker Mayfield? Odell? Both of them are not to blame.
Baker was an elite quarterback during the second half of his rookie season while enduring multiple coaching changes. He is a franchise quarterback and the Browns should be happy to have him. Something that really goes unnoticed is Baker losing his quarterbacks coach during the off season. That will have a major affect on young quarterbacks.
Odell has not been amazing this year but he has been an unbelievable teammate, which is something the media will not give him credit for. He has constantly said that he has Baker’s back and even said Baker made the right decision throwing to Landry on a game-losing play against the Broncos. Odell would not have said that in New York and it shows that he is becoming a much better teammate in Cleveland. So if it’s not Bakers fault, nor Odell’s, then whose is it?
There are two people who are to blame for the Browns blunders. Freddie Kitchens and Todd Monken. The state of the the Browns is on their hands and they have been awful since week one. Everything about this was a disaster. Monken came over from Tampa and the Browns implemented his playbook with Kitchens continuing to call plays. It makes no sense to begin with. A rookie head coach uses his offensive coordinator’s playbook instead of his and calls the plays in a playbook he is unfamiliar with rather than letting the guys who knows his own playbook cover to cover call the plays. So now Monken’s role is pointless. He just sits in the booth watching Kitchens butcher his plays. Now normally, Monken would not be at fault, but his play designs do not fit the NFL today. Receivers have been running into each other and there are no check downs which leaves Baker running for his life on the majority of plays.
Another issue with Kitchens is discipline. Currently the state of the Browns is penalties. The Browns lead the league in penalties and Kitchens is a big part in that. Players have not been punished for flags which is one reason and the other is Freddie just simply coaches them. He denies it, but it is true. He is very inexperienced and lets them happen in practice. That translates over to the games. Coaching Legend Urban Meyer has a famous quote, “When I need you the most, you give me your very best!” Freddie doesn’t demand that and it shows. Players do not play for him and do not show up prepared or motivated. In fact, Kitchens even said when he was first promoted to head coach that if the players were not ready to play, that’s on him, and they would need to find a new coach. Well they have not been ready and that is on Freddie.
First priority is to Fire Freddie. Once he is gone, the Browns can give the offense to Monken for the rest of the year and see what he can do. If the offense is successful then you keep him around next year. If it is just as bad then he’s gone in the off season. In the off season, the Browns have to land one of these two for the head coaching job: Lincoln Riley or Josh McDaniel. Both of these guys have been very successful and have great football minds.
With Riley, he reunites with Baker and turns this offense around into what it has the potential to be. The defense would stay directly with Steve Wilkes because Riley has had issues with his defense during his tenure at Oklahoma.
McDaniel’s is another great candidate because he has experience under the greatest head coach of all time, and he coached Tom Brady. That would go a long way with Baker and this offense. Browns fans, don’t worry. It looks really bad, but you are only a good head coach away from turning this ship around.