I ran out of time this week to put together a complete analysis, but here are a few quick thoughts I had while watching the tape on last Sunday’s game against the Colts:
- Penalties, turnovers, and dropped passes were killer last week. These are all focus-related errors and are just more likely to happen when you have a ton of rookies and second-year players together on an opposing team’s field. The key is whether the Browns can manage to reduce these mental errors over the course of the season to prove that the coaches are helping these young players to mature and play to the best of their ability.
- Youth is also going to contribute to poor play sometimes. We saw it from DeShone Kizer on his interceptions and from Jabrill Peppers when he took bad tackling angles and allowed T.Y. Hilton to scorch him in the second quarter. What I want to know in these situations is whether these young players, if they are making poor decisions, are making them going 100 miles per hour and are bouncing back quickly going into the next rep. That bodes well for the future even if it leads to hardship this year.
- The defense needs to be ready in the first half. This is especially true for veteran players like Jamal Taylor who needed to do a better job in coverage during the first half last Sunday and set a better examples for his less-experienced teammates. While the halftime adjustments against both the Ravens and Colts were great and led to complete shutdowns of the opposing teams’ offenses in the second halves of those games, the defense needs to avoid putting their rookie quarterback in comeback situations each week. For Kizer’s part, limiting interceptions will help his defense help him.
- One positive note about the defense though–hasn’t Jason McCourty just been an incredibly pleasant addition?
- Re: the offense, Hue was right. The run game did look better last week (when he was still using it). Isaiah Crowell showed better patience and vision than I’ve seen so far this season, and the offensive line was creating space for him to run. I would like to see Hue utilize the run more this week, giving his rookie QB a break from the pass-heavy offense Hue feels he’s been forced to deploy the last three weeks.
- Duke Johnson is just an absolute monster, and I love him for it.
- And while I’m almost never inclined to blame a loss on officiating (It’s almost never one play or one call that determines the outcome of a game.), and while I don’t think the officiating cost us this one either, it wasn’t great.