Scouting Ahead: Cleveland Browns Week 3 opponent, Chicago Bears
Browns must the turnover battle
What really cost Cleveland in their painful opening weekend loss to the Chiefs, and what almost cost them early against the Texans in Week 2, was the big error of committing multiple preventable turnovers.
The fumble and interception against the Texans last Sunday were particularly frustrating given the high level at which quarterback Baker Mayfield was playing. Mayfield was excellent slinging the ball throughout the game, but a fumble by People-Jones after an on-the-money pass and an interception off of Schwartz giving up on his route early dug the Browns into a hole that they might not have gotten out of against stronger opposition.
The Bears defense is not as forgiving as the Texans defense. Though they may not be at the strength that they once were a couple of years ago, there are some serious playmakers at every level of the Bears defense. Notably, Khalil Mack remains one of the scariest pass rushers in the NFL and could present a threat to Mayfield if the Browns offensive line is as lackadaisical as they were against the Texans.
On the other side of the ball, sending the Browns defense against a rookie quarterback needs to be a matchup for Joe Woods to take advantage of. A solid outing against the Chiefs was followed by a fairly careless showing in Week 2.
They will need to get after Fields early and often, but also make sure anytime he does air it out the secondary doesn’t let assignments slip like they did last weekend. One of Fields’ few weaknesses is holding onto the ball and forcing late throws under pressure. If he doesn’t utilize his ability as a runner, the Browns could have the opportunity to force turnovers with patient coverage and a steady pass rush.
The Browns have a -2 turnover differential 2 games into the season. The poor ending against the Chiefs played a big part in that, but continuing to put pressure on the defense to overcome preventable giveaways by the offense is not sustainable. They cannot be careless against the Bears, or they run the risk of going 1-2.