It’s safe to say: a 2-4 start to the season was not how Freddie Kitchens and John Dorsey drew it up when they assembled this year’s edition of the Cleveland Browns that features a roster of Pro Bowl caliber talent like Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Myles Garrett and others.
What has amplified the slow start is that the Browns were the most hyped team in the league heading into the season, leading to a hefty serving of criticism from just bout anyone with a platform after the losses.
The latest — and most curious — harsh words came from OJ Simpson, who has made it a routine to do some sit down “analysis” of teams around the NFL week to week.
Simpson separates the Rams and Cowboys and pretenders before getting to the Browns.
“For all of us who were cheering, the Cleveland Browns are definitely not who we though they were,” Simpson says while addressing the camera. “If they were your teams, sorry, but I’m just saying.”
Browns Head Into Bye Week With More Questions Than Answers
After another loss, the Browns trail the Ravens by two games for the NFC North lead. Baker Mayfield leads the league in interceptions (11), are second in red zone turnovers (3) and fourth in drop rate (4.7%).
The Browns had 9 flags for 83 yards, most of them coming at crucial times, negating big plays. The penalties have been an issue all year and was something that head coach Freddie Kitchens addressed after the loss.
“I think it is a factor of not focusing, not concentrating,” Kitchens said. “Sometimes, it is playing with emotion instead of passion. After the whistle [penalties] are emotion instead of passion. During the play, it is technique, being lazy or not doing your job. There are several things. We do not ever practice penalties. When it is something between when the ball is snapped or the whistle, it is usually technique, error, being in a bad position. Every now and then, your hand will get caught in somebody’s facemask or something like that and you are trying to tackle somebody and you get a facemask. This is not just defensively. This is offensively, too. Offense, defense, everybody is involved. You have to play with good technique during the whistle and you have to play with passion and not emotion after the whistle. That is it.”
Browns, Baker Mayfield Blast Refs in Loss to Seahawks
The loss to the Seahawks was the team’s second in a row and they fell to 0-3 at home this season. And while the Browns players were disappointed by the loss — even bolting the locker room door to keep reporters out after the game — they were also willing to rip the refs after a very questionable afternoon.
“The refs are never an excuse, but I’ll probably be fined for saying this, but it was pretty bad out there,” Mayfield told reporters. “Kinda ticks me off.”
Veteran defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson also chimed in on the officiating when speaking with ESPN’s Josina Anderson after the game.
“I don’t know what them penalty calls [were]. On a few of them. It’s just tough. They let other teams play football but us in our own stadium. It’s just that simple.”