3 areas where Cleveland Browns need to improve against Chargers in Week 5

Cleveland Browns, Jacoby Brissett. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Browns, Jacoby Brissett. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cleveland Browns are starting a two-game homestand. Up first is the Los Angeles Chargers. Here are 3 areas the Browns need to improve on in Week 5.

The sky is not falling, and the plane has not crashed into the mountain. It’s easy to get caught up in being a prisoner of the moment, but everything the Cleveland Browns want to do in 2022 is still right in front of them. Obviously only being 2-2 after the ‘easy’ part of their schedule is not ideal, but the reality is that no team in the AFC North has separated themselves from the pack.

Cleveland is beginning a two-game homestand, and first on the docket is the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers are also 2-2 and desperately need a win to stay in the thick of things in the AFC. Both teams come into this Week 5 contest dealing with serious injuries to major contributors. But, contrary to public perception, there is a clear path to victory for the Browns this week.

It won’t take a flawless performance, but there are a few areas that the Browns will need to improve upon if they want to have a shot of revenging their Week 5 loss to the Chargers in 2021. Here are three areas the Browns need to improve on if they want a shot at getting to 3-2.

3 areas where the Cleveland Browns must improve vs Chargers

Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Area of improvement No. 3: Generating pressure

When it comes to Cleveland’s pass rush, it begins and ends with Myles Garrett. How could it not? The Browns have the most physically gifted edge rusher in the entire league, and perhaps the most physically gifted player in the entire league.

But, as we all know, Garrett was involved in a single-car crash that sidelined the defensive end against the Falcons. All signs are pointing toward Garrett making his return this Sunday against the Chargers. So, problem solved? Well, not so fast.

Of course, Garrett returning does nothing but help Cleveland’s ability to rush the passer. But Garrett’s return only highlights this team’s real pass-rushing issue. Garrett is the ultimate math changer at defensive end, simply due to the sheer number of offensive personnel that is needed to focus on him. Garrett is double-teamed at a higher rate than any other defensive player in the league and might be the only player that occasionally gets triple-teamed.

But despite all that extra attention, no other defensive lineman has been able to take advantage of their one-on-one matchups. That can not be the case against the Chargers. Someone not named Myles Garrett is going to have to affect Herbert’s comfort in the pocket or they don’t stand a chance. Even if Cleveland’s defensive backs are all dialed in and are playing assignment-sound football, it is impossible to guard wide receivers for over four or five seconds in the NFL.

Joe Woods was able to manufacture pressure against the Falcons by running exotic linebacker blitzes and utilizing stunts up front. But that game plan won’t work on Herbert. Those types of blitz calls all come down to risk versus reward, and the risk is too great against Herbert.

The Browns need to be able to consistently generate an organic pass rush to speed up Herbert’s clock. If Jadeveon Clowney is able to return from his ankle injury, it could provide the spark this defensive front needs to take things up a notch and get after Herbert. But as of now, Clowney has yet to return to practice so the Browns can’t put all of their eggs in that basket.

Regardless, it can’t come down to just Garrett. It’s past time for someone on the interior to step up and prove to be a pass-rushing threat. Perrion Winfrey, I’m looking at you.