The View Beyond Pluto: Browns Need to Get Back to Basics
The Browns are a disappointing 2-5. Their recent loss came to the defending Super Bowl champions New England Patriots, 27-13. The team has nine games left in the season and the schedule becomes much easier. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said that eliminates some excuses for this underperforming team.
Home field no advantage
"Go back to the 40-25 win [September 29] in Baltimore over the Ravens," Pluto said. "That's who the Browns should be. But so far it's been like Hailey's Comet. It just showed up, brightened up everyone's spirits and then it's gone."
Of the remaining nine games, five of them are at home, which should be an advantage. "But they're 0-3 at home," Pluto said. "Last year they were 5-2-1 at home."
'So far it's been like Hailey's Comet. It just showed up, brightened up everyone's spirits and then it's gone'
The Browns have five games left within their division. They play Baltimore once, who they've defeated. They play the Ben Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4) and the winless Cincinnati Bengals twice each.
Still, Pluto said these are games they can easily lose. "They're averaging 10 penalties a game. It's hard to win most games in the NFL that way. And sometimes it's not an excuse of why Baker Mayfield is throwing as many interceptions. But when you're first and 20, you have to throw the ball and everyone knows you're going to throw it. And that often leads to poor passing and bad decisions by a quarterback."
'They've been consistently underperforming, ill-prepared and undisciplined'
First up this weekend is a game against the 2-6 Denver Broncos. "Their quarterback, Joe Flacco, is hurt. They're starting a guy whose name escapes me and that's the point. He's never played in the NFL before. But Denver's defense is good and if you're mistake-prone, you could lose. Or you could say this is really when the team starts to play better."
"They've been consistently underperforming, ill-prepared and undisciplined. That's what they've been consistently doing. You know why they started to win some games last year when they finished 5-3? They were playing pretty basic football. And they were playing hard and they were playing relatively smart."