It is not that unusual for Cleveland Browns fans to look ahead to future years with some games left to play.
But to hear, “Wait until next year” before the end of the preseason was a little strange.
That was the result of the 11-game suspension of the Browns’ latest savior, Deshaun Watson.
The thought of a true franchise quarterback guiding Kevin Stefanski’s offense still brings optimism for 2023.
#Browns now have just a 4.5% chance to make the playoffs, according to ESPN FPI.
Also now a 14% chance Cleveland’s draft pick lands in the top 5, per FPI; that pick would go to the Houston Texans.
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) November 14, 2022
But a lot of folks weren’t ready to dismiss the Browns with Jacoby Brissett back in August.
With a solid defense, improved special teams, and a solid running game, they were sure he could keep playoff hopes alive.
Now that we’ve seen those supporting units fail around Brissett, almost everybody is looking ahead to next year.
But it’s not all on Brissett; here are 3 players on the Browns’ offense who disappointed.
Kareem Hunt Flame Out
Kareem Hunt entered 2022 asking for a trade to a team where his talent would be more utilized in a contract year.
Ultimately, he said he was happy to still be in Cleveland but something is missing from Kareem Hunt’s game.
As good as Nick Chubb is, when Hunt entered games the last 2 seasons, he brought higher energy to the offense.
Kareem Hunt gets in on the action too! 😤 pic.twitter.com/yzKg64PG7p
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) October 9, 2022
His explosiveness on the field carried over into the huddle and opponents knew they were still facing an RB-1.
It’s not just his career-worst 3.8 yards-per-carry and 6.4 yards-per-catch that has Hunt on this list.
Hunt appears to have lost some of his mojo in what he might sense is his final season in Cleveland.
The Invisible Third Wide Receiver
Cleveland Browns fans have a habit of making too much out of preseason game performances.
Some of us are still waiting for the likes of Khadarel Hodge and Ja’Marcus Bradley to emerge elsewhere as All-Pros.
But this year, we had the hands of David Bell, the deceptive speed of Michael Woods, and the hype of Anthony Schwartz.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) August 15, 2022
And even though the rest of the NFL called our receiving corps thin, we “knew” we had a surprise in there somewhere.
Maybe things will be different when Deshaun Watson extends the receiving box.
But even with David Njoku out of the mix, it’s rare someone other than Amari Cooper or DPJ comes down with a pass.
Excitable Jacoby Brissett
Jacoby Brissett put up more-than-sufficient numbers this season to earn a job somewhere in 2023.
But the Browns’ dismal 3-6 record could easily be flipped if Jacoby Brissett had “it.”
Starting quarterbacks have to be able to deliver “it” at big moments all season long, and Brissett constantly fails.
Crushing interception thrown by Jacoby Brissett…
— Lost Tribe Sports (@LostTribeSports) October 9, 2022
We could excuse Brissett’s bad showing in Week 1 to his admitted case of nerves related to his first start.
But his pattern of playing a solid game only to throw a boneheaded pass with the game on the line is unacceptable.
Even in Miami Sunday, Brissett’s demeanor and command changed once the Browns entered “must-score” territory.
And that is unacceptable from a veteran quarterback.