Relative to the offseason expectations that they set up for themselves, the first half of the Cleveland Browns’ 2019 season has been a spectacular failure. Fresh off the feeling of a 5-2 run to close out their last campaign, the team bolstered its roster with additions of players like Odell Beckham, Sheldon Richardson, and Olivier Vernon and turned its attention to winning the division.
Eight games later, they are actually in a worse position than they were when they started to make their run in the second half of the season. And next up is the Buffalo Bills, then two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a span of three weeks. They do get the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals, plus two games against the Cincinnati Bengals, but they have to play the Baltimore Ravens again, and chances are they won’t beat them twice.
So what is the solution to turning things around? Baker Mayfield thinks it’s more of the same.
“We have some things that have not gone our way, some self-inflicted wounds is a lot of it, but we have to stay the course”, he told reporters this week, via the team’s website. “I have to continue to be me, push them to be better and everybody is focused right now. I would not say I am going to change, stop trying to get those guys to be better around me”.
‘Continue doing the same thing’ is generally not the answer you want to hear when what you’re doing isn’t currently working. As a matter of fact, the Browns are riding a four-game losing streak since they beat the Ravens all the way back in Week Four. Baltimore has done the exact opposite.
On the season, Mayfield is only completing 58.7 percent of his pass attempts, going 159 for 271 for 1963 yards. He has thrown just seven touchdowns, yet has a Baker’s dozen (not an actual baker’s dozen, but 12) interceptions.
It doesn’t help that he is getting sacked on 7.8 percent of his dropbacks so far this year, having been brought down 23 times already. The offensive line has left much to be desired, and they are feeling the loss of Kevin Zeitler at right guard (whom they traded for Vernon) probably more than they realized.
Meanwhile, Greg Robinson has already been benched once at left tackle, and the front office reportedly tried hard to trade for Trent Richardson up until the deadline, but Washington didn’t budge—though perhaps they should have.