The Cleveland Browns won’t have any more excuses if they can’t stop the lowly Washington Football Team offense on Sunday.
Too many people gave the Cleveland Browns and GM Andrew Berry a pass in the offseason for gutting the defense, letting Pro Bowl-caliber linebackers go, and then replacing them with bargain deal veterans and untested rookies. Too many fans talked about Berry being a “genius” who found talent that no one else could see, all while on a budget.
If Berry was seeing talent no one else saw, it was more likely a mirage.
Let’s be fair, the Browns defense has suffered some tough injuries. Losing Mack Wilson, arguably the second-best defensive player the team has didn’t help. Injuries to Greedy Williams, Denzel Ward, Grant Delpit, Vernon Olivier, and Jacob Phillips all hurt. The team was also expected to take a hard “L” on losing Andrew Billings for the year after he opted out but the defensive tackles have played alright so far. Sure, they took advantage of a banged-up Ravens offensive line and bad Bengals interior but still, they did outplay NFL players and that shouldn’t be dismissed.
So the Browns have had a rough go of it defensively. That just further highlights the issue that has plagued this defense through the first two weeks of the season, this team has no depth. The secondary is a joke, the linebackers are probably the worst group in the NFL and if it wasn’t for the fact the defensive line is playing a game of Who’s Line is it Anyway (someone always stepping up), there’s a good chance the Browns are 0-2 and not 1-1.
So yes, the injuries have stacked up. The opt-out has hurt. The bargain players are playing up to their contracts. That said, there is hope against the Washington Football Team. Dwayne Haskins is terrible. Yes, he’s only a second-year player but he’s shown nothing to warrant any faith in his play. Made even worse is the fact the Washington Football Team has no offensive threats. Granted anyone that plays against the Browns defense could become a threat, but still, on their own, the Washington offense is as bad, if not worse than the Browns defense.
Haskins isn’t very accurate, nor is he mobile. Made worse for Washington is that his offensive line is pretty awful. Haskins has already been sacked seven times through two games, (Mayfield only twice, yay Browns) and has no running game to rely on if he’s getting blitzed to hell. Washington is 31st in the NFL in Yard Per Play (rushing/passing) at 4.3.
The Browns are 13th, with a 5.9.
So the Browns have a perfect storm of events, where they can get to the quarterback (something they already did well as a unit), not worry so much about a mobile, precise quarterback like they’ve had to worry about through the first two weeks so far. All while not having to worry about the rushing game.
The Browns can’t afford to give up a big game against Washington. Not if the team is actually eyeing a postseason birth for the first time since the 2002 season.