These are five players who need to step up against the Vikings.
The Browns handled their business against the Vikings but that doesn’t mean that everyone played their best. There were a few players in the Bears game that could absolutely do with a better effort in Minnesota.
This week’s list will actually include seven players because there weren’t enough spaces to say everything that needed to be said. Sometimes you just gotta bend the rules a little bit and this is one of those times.
It’ll be obvious why we doubled up in two spots, mostly because of the fact that those four respective players played similar positions as someone else on the list.
Five (seven) players that need to do better against the Vikings.
5. John Johnson
John Johnson has not been the big free-agent acquisition many had hoped for. It was made worse on Sunday against the Bears with his drive-extending pass interference call. While many Browns fans want to argue that it wasn’t, it was. Johnson made contact with the Bears’ receiver. Had it been a reversal of roles, every Cleveland fan would be demanding a flag in that situation. It was a foul by the barest minimums of the rule, sure, but it was still a foul.
4. Jedrick Wills/Blake Hance
Jedrick Wills needs to be pulled for a week or two so he can fully rest and recover. The offensive line is about rhythm and trust. Blake Hance usually does well anywhere on the line but against the Bears, it was clear he couldn’t find his rhythm. There was obvious miscommunications with him and Joel Bitonio, who himself had a week to forget, and these are the issues that come when you’re rotating guys in and out. When Wills was in the game, he was barely any better than Hance. Start Hance (or Michael Dunn) for a week and let Wills recover. We can’t have this issue with Wills every week. He’s playing badly and he’s risking more serious injuries.
3. Joel Bitonio
Between getting blown up on his inside, two different holding calls, and missing a few blocks outright, it was hard to say Bitonio had anything other than a bad day. Joel Bitonio is too good of a guard to have back-to-back games like this. Hopefully, when the team travels to Minnesota, the far less robust Vikings defense will be easier to manage.
2. David Njoku
His lack of an impact in the passing game was obvious enough but PFF graded him out to 45.8 for the game, mostly due to a lackluster showing against the run. Considering how good the Bears’ defense is, that’s not surprising but Njoku has got to be better against the Vikings when he’s in to block. The team can’t afford for Njoku to regress in an area he’s needed at.
1. Malik McDowell/Malik Jackson
Shockingly, both Malik McDowell and Malik Jackson were rated very poorly by PFF. Neither man really made an impact against the Bears’ offense, which is surprising, because everyone else did. McDowell (52.7) was graded higher than Jackson (29.5) but McDowell got a horrid score for tackling (23.7) That’d be bad enough considering how bad some corners are at tackling but considering he’s a 290 lbs defensive tackle, there’s really no excuse to be that bad at wrapping and tackling.