Cleveland Browns Postgame Scribbles: A plan to get Browns out of this mess

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Cleveland Browns Postgame Scribbles: A plan to get Browns out of this mess

Post by admin » Tue Dec 31, 2019 6:32 am

Scribbles in my notebook after the Browns lost, 33-23, to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday:

1. The first step to pulling the Browns out of their 6-10 funk is a coaching change, which happened when Freddie Kitchens was fired Sunday night. The Browns need to find someone with head coaching experience. My favorite for the job is Ron Rivera, although the former Carolina Panthers coach is supposed to be very close to being hired by Washington.

2. I don’t favor hiring a coach who also wants to run the entire football operation. It works for Bill Belichick, but not too many others. Mike McCarthy wants to get back into the coaching game after sitting out 2019. He was 125-77-2 in 13 years with the Green Bay Packers. I’m not a huge fan of McCarthy, but he’s worth discussing.

3. Sometimes, veteran coaches such as Rivera and McCarthy need a new challenge after they’ve spent a long time with the same team. That was the case when Andy Reid left Philadelphia for Kansas City. Those guys come to the next job determined to show they can coach – and don’t need training wheels to get going on the right road.

4. I’ve been hearing Josh McDaniels mentioned in connection with the Browns... again. How many times is this? Three? Four? The New England Patriots offensive coordinator had a rough time as head coach of the Denver Broncos (2009-10). He verbally agreed to take the Indianapolis Colts job in 2017, then backed out. In Denver, McDaniels tried to run everything, much like Eric Mangini did with the Browns in 2009. It didn’t work for either man.

5. I like Dan Campbell, who is the top assistant in New Orleans. He was an interim coach with Miami at one point, had a 5-7 record. The Browns did interview him last year but passed. They should talk to him again.

6. Most NFL coaches learn they will be hired on Monday or Tuesday. There usually is a surprise name. In 2014, the Browns never offered the job to Chip Kelly, which had been reported. But they did offer it to Doug Marrone, who turned them down in favor of the Buffalo Bills. Marrone could become available after two tough years in Jacksonville.

7. I don’t want the Browns to fire the front office. I want owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam to have some serious talks with John Dorsey, hearing his ideas for fixing what went wrong this year. It was much deeper than Kitchens being overmatched as the head coach.

8. The Browns have to commit to bolstering the lines... that’s right, BOTH lines. They need help blocking. They need help on the defensive line. They need to have a serious discussion about the merits of keeping Odell Beckham Jr., who creates a strange vibe because he brings so much attention on himself.

9. Beckham made a sensational catch in the corner of the end zone in Sunday’s loss to the Bengals. He played with food poisoning. Baker Mayfield said the receiver even vomited at one point during the game.

10. But Beckham played only 16-of-32 games from 2017-18. He appeared in every game this season, but rarely took part in practices because of groin issues and a sports hernia. The Browns kept saying not to worry about Beckham sitting out, he’ll be ready for the games. He was on the field, but obviously had trouble connecting on passes with Mayfield.

11. My plan would be to keep Dorsey with the caveat that he refrain from drafting guys who flunk drug tests at the NFL Combine (Antonio Callaway) along with other obvious character risks. The Browns need to get back to bringing in guys to play basic football, the blocking and tackling that were so lacking this season.

12. When Dorsey traded Kevin Zeitler, Jabrill Peppers and a first-round pick to the New York Giants for Olivier Vernon and Beckham, he rolled the dice on two talented but injury-prone players to hopefully accelerate the winning after the 7-8-1 record in 2018. It didn’t happen. Vernon was hurt, missing seven games. Beckham finished with 74 catches and 1,054 yards receiving, but didn’t seem to mesh with the offense.

13. The Browns need to cut out the drama, and that means roster changes in addition to coaching changes. The 6-10 record was not a fluke, not the product of a QB being hurt. It was a reflection of how the team played together (or didn’t).

14. The front doesn’t like to hear this, but 2018 interim coach Gregg Williams brought in a sense of order and discipline that helped last season – and was missing in 2019. Bottom line: Bring in an experienced coach. Add blockers on offense, guys who can stop the run and pressure the passer on defense. The team has some flashy talent, now it needs basic football players.

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