3 areas where the Browns need to make drastic improvements against Houston

Browns, Deshaun Watson. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, Deshaun Watson. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cleveland Browns are staring down the barrel of the final stretch of the season. With six games left, and Deshaun Watson under center, it could get interesting. What areas need to improve for the team to be firing on all cylinders?

They say that winning cures all. While that statement sounds good, it’s an over-exaggeration of the reality of professional sports. Winning doesn’t really cure anything, but it sure makes everything feel better.

Your morning coffee tastes a little better on a victory Monday. The players are just slightly less sore after a victory. But the areas that a team struggles in are still there, they just did not prove to be as costly…this time.

The Cleveland Browns are a flawed team. However, so is every other NFL franchise. Some teams are just better at masking their flaws and accentuating their strengths. After all, the Browns are coming off a win against what will be an NFC playoff team.

You don’t need to be perfect to win games in the NFL, you just need to lean on your strengths and outlast your opponent. But, if you can sure up your weaknesses while getting wins, then you could find yourself left standing when the dust settles.

Here are three areas where the Browns need to make drastic improvements

Browns, Cade York
Browns, Cade York. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 3: Cade York’s yips

Over the last couple of games, the Browns have seen a marked improvement in their return game. With Jerome Ford returning from the IR, the kickoff return game looks like it has gotten some juice. Ford has returned four kickoffs for 116 over the course of the last two games. You can expect more touchbacks in the Browns future if Ford stays on his current trajectory.

Donovan Peoples-Jones is also making his mark as a punt returner. The Browns tried to keep the punt return duties out of DPJ’s hands, but his hands turned out to be the most reliable. After the first half of the season, most were happy that someone was just actually able to field punts. However, Peoples-Jones is now starting to turn the corner as a weapon in the punt return game.

But not everything on the special teams is rosy. Cade York has been driving the struggle bus this season. The rookie kicker is 17-of-23 on his field goal attempts for the year but is only two of four over the last two contests.

Many analysts, including former NFL kicker Jay Feely, have noted that York is inconsistent with his plant leg on kicks. While York is a rookie, and it should be expected that he would have growing pains, being inconsistent with his technique is something that could cost the Browns more games than it already has.

This is not a coaching issue. Special Teams coordinators don’t instruct kickers how to kick a football.

This is an issue that York is going to have to solve himself or risk the coaching staff losing their faith in him. That is a dark place for a kicker to find himself.