Going into the season, there weren’t a lot of expectations for a strong start by the Cleveland Browns.
Deshaun Watson is suspended until week 13 and Jacoby Brissett, a career backup QB, is behind center until he returns.
But even with the team’s current limitations at QB, fans expected to be at least better than 2-5.
There were easy wins against the Jets and Falcons that slipped through the team’s hands.
There were close games against the Patriots and Chargers that the team failed to capitalize on in the game’s final moments.
Thoughts on #Browns Pats
– Joe Woods🤡
– Mike Priefer🤡
– Kevin Stefanski🤡
– 0-16 Def would give this Def a run for it's💵
– Jacoby sucks
– Best RB in the NFL, 12 rushing attempts
– Guy who led the NFL in rushing in KC, 4 attempts
– Schwartz: 2 targets
– And it's gunna get worse
— Michael Killi (@MikeKilli) October 16, 2022
Now, with a losing record, fans want answers as to why the Browns have started the season so miserably.
Who is responsible for the Browns’ 2-5 record?
1. DC Joe Woods
By popular demand, Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods is the first name on this list.
Fans have been calling for his job since the first few weeks of the season.
This #Browns defense is back to not stopping anyone. Especially when it matters the most.
Joe Woods doesn’t belong coaching a defense in this league. He has all the talent over there, but can’t get a decent scheme to work against a below average offense.
— Russell Williams (@Russ_Will_) September 18, 2022
And despite calling an (arguably) good game last week against the Ravens, he is largely responsible for the Browns’ record.
His secondary has been porous, his run-stop game is frail and his players don’t look committed or disciplined to his schemes.
With how talented the roster is on defense, from Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney to Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome, the performance of his unit should be a lot better.
But despite all the talent at his disposal and the fact his defense was top-5 in the league last year, Woods is weighing this team down.
2. S John Johnson III
When the Browns signed John Johnson in 2021, they expected to get one of the best safeties in the league and a leader in the locker room.
So far, he’s shown very little of those aspects.
Instead, he’s allowed for big plays in the secondary, failed to make tackles and has tried to get into Twitter spats with fans.
John Johnson III. This is the guy who spent the week calling out his teammates on defense for their lack of commitment and hard work. Jacob Phillips literally pushes him because he's just standing there in his way, watching Gus Edwards walk in for the TD. #Browns pic.twitter.com/ehEy9rVHPi
— Roberto Shenanigans (@Rob_Shenanigans) October 23, 2022
For a player the team really needs to step up right now, he seems to be taking steps back and ultimately hurting this team.
He has tried to motivate other players by calling them out in the press and calling for players to join him in watching game film at his home.
#Browns John Johnson III: "It's a commitment thing. When practice is over you can't just run out of the building…leaders on this team need to get together…something's got to change."
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) October 19, 2022
But in the games following those remarks, he’s shown poor play and has failed to really step up as a leader.
The Browns will have a chance to move on from Johnson at the end of the season.
Hopefully, they will work to replace him with a player who can actually help the team win some games.
3. HC Kevin Stefanski
Like anything poorly run and failing, blame starts from the top down.
Head Coach Kevin Stefanski needs to take the bulk of the blame as most of the team’s decision start with.
While calling for his job might be a little drastic (his offense is one of the highest-rated in the NFL right now), it’s fair to say something needs to be done.
What, exactly, is Kevin Stefanski fixing every week? He keeps saying they’re gonna get it fixed but they keep getting worse. #Browns
— Steve Gerlich (@GerlichSteve) October 16, 2022
The biggest criticism of him right now is his underutilization of the run game.
Instead of giving the ball the Nick Chubb, who leads the NFL in rushing yards, he continues to give more and more dropbacks to Brissett, who will soon be replaced by Watson.
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) October 25, 2022
While there is a torrent of issues going on with the Browns right now, Stefanski’s playcalling sits amongst the biggest concerns for the team.
He needs to take the blame for the losses and take some time to make a few adjustments.
Hopefully before Watson returns and before the season continues its downward spiral.