Come on Browns, calm down, no more whoopty hell please.
The Cleveland Browns panicked on Sunday and went back to their familiar but dysfunctional ‘whoopty hell’ offense full of trick plays and deep balls to Odell Beckham, Jr., accompanied by fervent prayers to the football gods.
None of it worked.
It’s time for everyone to take a deep breath, simplify the offensive game plan for the Bengals on Thursday and emphasize what the team does best; namely, run the ball.
Cleveland got away from their game plan early versus the Ravens, with a fake punt in the first quarter which failed miserably. After that, they lost patience with the running game and started raining balls to OBJ who was targeted 10 times with only three connections. No one else was targeted more than six times.
In the process, OBJ had to take an IV during the game, indicating he might have been cramping up or getting dehydrated. Even so, he led all Browns wideouts with 55 game snaps on Sunday. It could have been Baker Mayfield or it could have been the coaching staff, but it’s clear that that there was an unhealthy fixation on OBJ.
This fan is not a trainer by any means, but if his body is getting that dehydrated, is there a concern that he is at risk for soft tissue injuries? Can the wide receiver beat a world-class defender for the deep ball in that condition?
In any case, Sunday’s loss to Baltimore was classic ‘whoopty hell’ football. There’s just no other way around it. It doesn’t work.
The long ball with a new offense, new coach, and new offensive coordinator is a bad idea, especially this year with no pre-season games due to the Covid-19 situation. Around the league, you saw that quarterbacks with new teams, new head coaches, and new offenses tended to struggle.
For example, Tom Brady threw two picks yesterday including a pick-six. Conversely, newcomer Cam Newton was great for the Patriots but ran the ball fifteen times because the Patriots understood it will take time to get the passing game in sync.
Baker Mayfield is working with his fourth offensive coordinator in three seasons as a professional. On top of that, if the Browns are going to start playing ‘whoopty hell’ football in the first quarter, well, it might be a long season.
Cleveland needs to simplify the playbook, not make it more complicated. They are better than anyone else when they run the football, so run the football. OBJ will be outstanding, but not if the Browns are targeting him 10 times in a single game. The Browns have Chubb and Hunt. Let them lead the NFL in rushing yardage, starting against the Bengals. Don’t be afraid to run the ball.
The Cincinnati Bengals are a different caliber opponent than the Ravens. No offense to the Bengals, but the Ravens may be All-Universe this season, and right now the Browns passing offense may just not be very mature. In any case, if the Browns let Chubb and Hunt loose on the Bengals on Thursday, odds are it will be the Bengals defense that is gasping for air and getting IVs in the fourth quarter, and there may be no need for whoopty football.
Later in the season, the game plan can be expanded to take better advantage of Mayfield’s skill set. But it is unlikely to happen overnight.
The Browns don’t need to panic and start throwing the ball up and praying for miracles if the team falls behind in the first quarter. That’s way too early. No matter what, they should stay true to what they believe in. Personally, this fan believes in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Give them the ball against the Bengals early and often.
No more ‘whoopty hell’ please. And Thank you.