Bad News Browns

Another NFL season, another year the Cleveland Browns remove themselves from playoff contention before November. Through the first seven games of the season, the Browns are the only winless team remaining in the NFL.

To begin with the positive though, Cleveland’s offense has not been all that bad. The offensive line took a hit due to some free agent departures, but skill players, such as Isaiah Crowell and Terrelle Pryor, have been showing signs of hope. Crowell, who currently stands at 10th on the NFL rushing list, is averaging more than 5.2 yards per carry, and also owns the longest rushing touchdown, eighty-seven yards, in the league so far. Pryor is getting snaps all around so far, recording rushing, receiving, and even passing yards. In week three in Miami, Pryor recorded eight receptions for 144 yards to go along with a rushing TD.

Quarterback play has been subpar, but the depth chart at the position was ravaged by injuries, where four players have already recorded snaps at QB. RGIII, our key off-season pickup, got hurt in the first game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles; he will miss the majority of the season. Backup Josh McCown then also sustained an injury, and the Browns were forced to play third stringer Cody Kessler of USC in week three. This is when Pryor even logged some snaps at QB, completing three of five passes for thirty-five yards.

Although the offense is somewhat competent, averaging 348 yards a game (good for 20th in the league), the defense is embarrassing. The 29th ranked defense in the NFL—403 yards a game—is exposed, game after game.

Their best game defensively, in week two against division rival Baltimore Ravens, they still gave up twenty-five points, allowing a run-of-the-mill quarterback Joe Flacco to pass for more than 300 yards. The defense has not improved much since, giving up thirty points to the Miami Dolphins, thirty-one to Washington Redskins, thirty-three to Tom Brady in his return from Deflategate, and twenty-eight to the lowly Tennessee Titans on the road.

A perfect representation of the Browns season is the conclusion of the Miami game. In the fourth quarter, with the game tied, the Browns drove into field goal range as the clock ran down. On the last play of regulation, kicker Cody Parkey missed the game winning field goal from forty-six yards out. It looks as if the Browns and their dedicated fanbase will look ahead to the draft and the 2017 season.

-David Smith 18

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