The key to salvaging the 2019 season for the Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OHIO - AUGUST 08: Head coach Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns watches from the sidelines during the first half of a preseason game against the Washington Redskins at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - AUGUST 08: Head coach Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns watches from the sidelines during the first half of a preseason game against the Washington Redskins at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns have had one of the worst starts they could have asked for in 2019. Due to this, tensions are rising, and fans are getting restless. Freddie Kitchens isn’t performing as well as people have hoped and neither is Baker Mayfield. However, there is no need for concern.

The Cleveland Browns need to take a page out of Aaron Rodgers book and just relax. Rodgers described the Browns key to success well in 2014, saying “Five letters here just for everybody out there in Packer-land: R-E-L-A-X… Relax. We’re going to be OK.”

The Browns are going to be okay. No sane person should have thought that this Cleveland team was going to have a perfect season with no hiccups. Despite what some currently believe, Baker Mayfield is still the face of this franchise and will be for years to come.

Freddie Kitchens is still the head coach and is learning on the job. Odell Beckham Jr is still a top 5 talent at wide receiver in the NFL. The core of this team is under contract for a while, so there is no need to panic.

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Odell Beckham Jr. is under contract until 2024. Jarvis Landry, Joel Bitonio, Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams, Mack Wilson, and Austin Seibert are all under contract till 2023. Christian Kirksey, Sheldon Richardson, Nick ChubbMyles Garrett, and Jamie Gillan are all under contract through 2022.

The only big pieces to this team whose contracts are up at the end of the season are J.C. Tretter, Damarious Randall, Joe Schobert, and Greg Robinson. With $32 million in cap space, expect three of the four to stick around. Hopefully, Tretter, Randall, and Schobert find their ways on to the team next season, but you should have faith that Dorsey will be able to replace them if necessary. Needless to say, the future is bright.

The Browns are currently 2-4, with wins over the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens. They’ve lost to the Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks, who have a combined record of 15-7. It looks like either the 49ers or Seahawks will win the NFC this season, both most likely going to be in the playoffs.

Los Angeles could also find themselves walking into the playoffs as a wildcard. Minus the Titans team they lost to in Week 1, they have played some tough clubs.

Sure, you’d hope Cleveland would be able to win those games, but there’s always going to be growing pains when you have a first-year head coach who has less than 10 games calling plays under his belt prior to the season, and a second-year quarterback whose top weapon played for a different team the season before. Freddie is learning how to manage a game, Baker is learning how to adapt and improve on the season, and Odell is learning how to adjust to this offense and get chemistry with Baker.

The defense has been banged up in the secondary up to this point of the season and the unit is under new leadership from Steve Wilks, who wasn’t with the team last season. Adjusting to his system is going to be difficult, which will give the team some growing pains there.

Cleveland is a young and talented team that doesn’t have enough chemistry yet. The key word is yet. The team has progressively gotten better throughout the season. Kitchens has been learning the hard way on how to manage a football game. The team gets to take the bye week in stride, recover its two starting cornerbacks, and prepare for the best team in football in two weeks.

If the franchise just steps back a second, takes in a deep breath, and goes to work, the team will be fine. The fans need to do their part and not feed the flames of tension and trade rumors and let the team develop. After the Bills game week 10, the Browns have one opponent left on their schedule that has a positive record. That is the Ravens in week 16, and that will be in Cleveland. It’s the same Ravens squad that the Browns beat by 18 in Baltimore.

Nick Chubb is playing some elite football right now and Myles Garrett is in the same boat. Despite the flashy receivers, this team needs to run the offense through Chubb for now and begin to develop the passing game as the season goes on. The defense needs to rely on twist games along the defensive line and get selective with if and when they blitz. Allow the team to flow through your hot players and you will win games. Win a few games, and you’ll find yourself in the playoffs.

Sitting at 2-4, the Browns have to play the Bengals, Steelers, Dolphins, Ravens, and Bills at home still, then have to play on the road against the Patriots, Steelers, Broncos, Bengals, and Cardinals. Win 7-8 of these 10 games and the team will most likely find themselves in the playoffs, at least as a wildcard.

In short, everyone needs to relax. There are legitimate concerns to be had, but there is not an appropriate time to address these concerns than the offseason. Let the season play out and then re-evaluate from there. The national media will do a good enough job of counting the Browns out, which is when Baker Mayfield and crew play their best football.

Next. Browns have no room for error rest of season. dark

If everyone relaxes and lets the Browns develop throughout the season and accepts the growing pains for what they are, the team will benefit the tremendously and be set up much better long-term than if we try to force the finished product too soon.