Cleveland Browns: Can they win at home and put season back together?https://www.cleveland.com/browns/2019/10...k-together.html
By Terry Pluto, The Plain Dealer
CLEVELAND – Talking to myself as the Browns face Seattle at FirstEnergy Stadium at 1 p.m. Sunday:
QUESTION: Don’t you expect the Browns to lose again?
ANSWER: I don’t want to think about it.
Q: Didn’t you pick them to lose in San Francisco?
Q: Isn’t Seattle a better team than the 49ers?
Q: What about Russell Wilson...12 TD passes, zero interceptions?
A: Along with Patrick Mahomes, he’s the best QB in the NFL.
Q: What about Seattle’s pass rush? Ziggy Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney?
A: Big names. But they have only two sacks between them. Seattle has only 10 sacks in five games, the Browns have 16. The Seahawks are allowing 23.6 points, the Browns 24.4. They could be somewhat like Baltimore, a defense whose reputation is greater than its performance this season.
Q: So you think they can play another game like the 40-25 victory in Baltimore?
A: Of course, that’s the Browns at their best.
Q: So what was last week’s 31-3 loss to San Francisco? Or the 43-13 pounding by Tennessee in the home opener.
A: The Browns at their worst?
Q: Let’s hope it can’t get any worse than that.
A: As I wrote earlier in the week, those two losses were worse than anything in the 40-game Hue Jackson Era. The 35-10 loss to Dallas in 2016 was the biggest margin of defeat. The Browns can drive you crazy. After winning decisively in Baltimore, you think they can beat almost anybody. And after the 49ers game, you think they’ll lose to everybody.
Q: What’s going on?
A: Before the season began, I was worried about all the changes on the coaching staff. Freddie Kitchens is a rookie head coach with three coordinators from different teams: offensive coordinator Todd Monken (Tampa Bay), defensive coordinator Steve Wilks (Arizona) and special teams coach Mike Priefer (Minnesota). These guys have never worked together before and Kitchens is still trying to figure out his role.
Q: Is that what Priefer was talking about in his weekly press conference?
A: Here’s some of what he said: "You have coaches coming from different staffs around the league or even college. You have players coming from different teams. I think Freddie is doing a phenomenal job of changing the culture. I have my master’s degree in management, and I took leadership culture classes and I have studied a lot of that stuff."
Q: Please, not another lesson in patience.
A: Priefer also said: “Being a Naval Academy grad, I have studied leadership and leaders. You do not just walk in and change the culture overnight. It is a process. It is going to take some time. Whether we were 0-5, 2-3, 3-2 or 5-0, it still takes time to build the culture the way Freddie has envisioned it . . . Although the record does not show it quite yet, I do feel good about where we are."
Q: Are you buying any of that?
A: Like everything with the Browns, this has been harder than expected. I will say Priefer’s special teams have been a bright spot this year.
Q: Was Jarvis Landry right when he said: “We may not be as good as we think we are.”
A: So far, at least on most game days. But I also think Priefer has a point when he said, “It doesn’t happen over night.”
Q: Over night? OVER NIGHT!!! Most fans have been waiting at least 20 years since they returned. Don’t you get it, we’re sick of waiting!
A: I admit to being frustrated. Not simply because they are 2-3, but because they seem emotionally fragile. It has shown up in the blowouts. But they do have talent. It’s real.
Q: So what kind of team is this?
A: That’s the question facing them Sunday. They are 0-2 at home. They have a West Coast team coming in.
Q: Isn’t it harder for a West Coast team to come East and win than it is for an East Coast team to go West and win?
A: There are some stats about that. They have to do with the West Coast team feeling like it’s playing at 10 a.m. because of the time change. When it comes to this game, that doesn’t matter. The players matter. The coaching staff matters. They have to be prepared. They can’t wilt when adversity hits.
Q: Why do you keep writing that?
A: Because it’s the only way for things to change. Baker Mayfield has to return to the guy who set a rookie record for TD passes. Odell Beckham Jr. has to be an important part of the passing game, just as Nick Chubb can power the running game. The defense can play well, as it did against the Rams, Ravens and Jets.
Q: So you think they can win?
A: Of course, they CAN win. In fact, I’m predicting they WILL win: 27-24. My record predicting Browns games this year is 4-1.