A Bad Play Caller
It’s good to avoid harping too much on the failings of a man. Hue Jackson and Freddie Kitchens aren’t bad people, they were just terrible hires. That’s it. Their legacy is not going to be tainted by their time in Cleveland. They simply did a bad job and that’s that.
That said, Kitchens was a horrid play-caller. The Browns became so simple to figure out that the opposing teams would stack nine in the box to stop Nick Chubb and then drop everyone into coverage to take away Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. Which wasn’t hard, as Beckham was already a disaster in his own right.
When the offense became simplified, Mayfield had to force passes into tight coverage because he knew there wasn’t going to be better options down the road. There wasn’t a slot receiver worth his weight, they didn’t have a tight end to rely on as a security option and then the poor kid getting flattened like a pancake, forcing Joel Bitonio to hold up some fingers for Mayfield to count.
Slants didn’t work because the linebackers were staying home, the team rarely did play action to any effective measure (because teams didn’t fear the passing attack) and screens were blown up half-a-second into the play because no one could even get a chip block in.
Yet somehow, despite all this, it was Mayfield’s fault that the team only won six games? Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions his rookie year and Drew Brees threw four more interceptions than touchdowns in his THIRD year, yet they’re sitting in the top five greatest quarterbacks of all time. Mayfield still threw more TD’s to INT’s and did it with no pass block worth a damn and one wide receiver. Yet he’s the one that needs to go?
Imagine how much worse this team would’ve looked if they had traded away that second-round pick (Chubb) for Jimmy Garopollo.