Consistency was the issue for the team, most notably on offense where then-head coach Freddie Kitchens was calling the plays. Second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield regressed behind a patchwork offensive line, and both star wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry showed visible frustration on the field.
Landry, who still finished the year with 1,174 yards and six touchdowns, made the Pro Bowl, but admitted in an interview with Complex Sports that a loss to the Denver Broncos that dropped them to 2-6 was rock-bottom.
“I got a hint of it, the Denver game,” Landry said “After that Denver loss, a game we should have won.”
Despite having the upper-hand in some games, the Browns still managed to lose contests they should have won. Late season swoon against the struggling Cardinals, Bengals and Steelers playing a third-string quarterback didn’t help either.
“I want to say that the Pittsburgh, Arizona, that was very tough for me, the whole time,” Landry said.
Jarvis Landry on Freddie Kitchens: I Don’t Know What the Plan Was
Landry has tried to hold back in interviews when it comes to Kitchens, who was fired right after the season ended. But it’s obvious by some of his statements that there was an overall feeling that the team was unorganized and without a consistent vision.
“I’ll say this, the first 20 plays of a game are scripted calls,” Landry said. “The first 20 plays of the game are calls that come from a team’s tendencies of how they approach the game in the first quarter or the first drive, so it can be predictable, what the defense is going to do. After that, it’s just kind of off of play-calling. Obviously, it comes down to execution, it comes down to making the throw, making the catches, making the blocks, but I just don’t know what the plan was [after the first 15 plays].”
Kitchens refused to give up play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Todd Monken, which could have ultimately been his downfall. As a first-time head coach, he simply had to much on his plate as was worn thin. Kitchens landed with the Giants this offseason after parting ways with the Browns. He’ll be their tight end coach.
Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry Trying to Grow With Baker Mayfield
Despite breaking the 1,000-yard barrier, Beckham did not play up to the wild expectations set forth after the blockbuster trade that landed him with the Browns in the offseason. Beckham finished his first season in Cleveland with 1,035 yards and just four touchdowns.
After garnering some MVP hype in the preseason, Baker Mayfield finished the year with 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, ranking next-to-last in both passer rating (78.8) and completion percentage (59.4%) despite having both Beckham and Landry at his disposal.
Landry said for the trio to take their partnership to the next level, it will just take some time being healthy and getting on the same page with Mayfield.
“It starts with getting healthy and from there spending as much time with each other as possible, learning the new system, learning what we’re trying to do, what we’re trying to accomplish,” Landry said on FS1’s First Things First. “That’s the biggest thing, trying to find our identity.”
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