Cleveland Browns: Thursday is a must win against Bengals

Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns must win against Cincinnati

Week 2 is a must win.

A little too dramatic for game two of the season? Think about it. This will not only place the Cleveland Browns at 0-2 to start the season but 0-2 in the division also. If you want to make any noise this year, yes, I watched Sunday, then the game against the Bengals is a must-win Thursday night.

Not only must they get this win for down the road playoff jockeying, but they also need a win right now. The players need something to build on and quiet the masses before a long break till game three on September 27th against Washington.

Coaching bounce back

After the debacle of last year and then the egg laid Sunday, Kevin Stefanski needs to have a bounce-back game. For him, not only does he need a win, but he needs to show he coached his team to this win. The Browns need to show discipline throughout the game.

I would yell ‘RUN THE DAMN BALL!’ but I think that has probably been done a few times. Where were the play-action rollouts? The run was supposed to set up the pass in this offense. It seemed as though we only saw some glimpses of that even before it got out of hand.

Stefanski needs to do what got you here, and that is run his offense no matter who is in it. Even with David Njoku out, use those tight ends as you did with the Vikings. Show this group that you are the leader of this team by going out and executing a win Thursday.

Baker needs to be better

Forget about the Odell Beckham talk for now. Baker Mayfield needs to be better, period. He doesn’t need to find his 2018 form, though that would work. He only needs to be better. Play within the system and go through the reads. Every gain does not need to be 15-20 yards downfield. Find the passing lanes between the big guys and hit your spots.

If $44 million tight end Austin Hooper is open, throw it to him. If Jarvis Landry is open, throw it to him. If Steve Carlson is open…you get the point. This offense starts with No. 6, until he takes control and plays better, it will not get better. That needs to start Thursday.

The mental makeup is fragile

Right now, this team’s mental makeup is extremely fragile, and dropping the first two games could snowball into another bad season. No matter how ‘tough’ a player is supposed to be, losing and bad play takes a toll and starts to affect effort.

Players will start to doubt the coaching and leadership again, as will fans. The media will start with all the questions fans and players are tired of hearing. The next thing you know, it’s halfway through the season, and your playing out the string already.

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Thursday night is only the second game of the year, but it is not only a must-win but also a needed one for this team.