The View From Pluto: The Browns Are Still Looking for Their Rhythm and Flow

Sep 18, 2019

The Browns got in the win column on Monday with a victory against the Jets, but the team still has plenty of kinks to work out. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said the defense was outstanding, along with new receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. But quarterback Baker Mayfield and the offense struggled a bit overall. Still, he said a win’s a win.

Beckham shines, but...
The 23-3 win was ugly, Pluto said. That's because the Jets were playing with a third-string quarterback and had very few impact players on the field.

"But remember, this is not figure skating," Pluto said. "We're not into style points. It wasn't something that you'd say was so much fun, except Odell Beckham put on a display that showed why the Browns traded for him."

Beckham made an impressive one-handed catch in the first half and another catch that he ran for an 89-yard touchdown. Still, Pluto said there's some concern surrounding Beckham's health. "He mentioned that his legs cramped up and that his hamstring was tight. This guy has a history of significant leg injuries. Last year he tore a quad muscle.”

Getting that first win
Pluto said it was crucial for the team to avoid going 0-2 to start the season. "Just 12% of teams who start 0-2 end up going to the playoffs," he said. 

“Winning a game, having some order and looking like a team and doing it on the road for the first time with a rookie coach. That was the big issue to come away with."

Pluto said he asked head coach Freddie Kitchens what he thought of the game. "He said when you face adversity, you either run towards it or run away from it. He said he thought they ran together some as a team."

'The rhythm and flow that the Browns had in the last eight games has not been present in the first two games'

Looking for rhythm and flow
Pluto said quarterback Baker Mayfield was just "OK."

"Maybe our expectations have risen for him, but he had a couple of passes tipped at the line of scrimmage," Pluto said. "There were times to me it seemed like that indecisiveness that really haunted him in that first game against Tennessee still remained. He just didn’t seem to be quite as confident as he was last year. Maybe they changed some things on offense to accommodate Beckham and some others. But the rhythm and flow that the Browns had in the last eight games when Baker was quarterback with Freddie Kitchens calling the plays last year has not been present in the first two games."

Next up, the Rams
Pluto says this Sunday will be a real test, as they face the Super Bowl runner-up, L.A. Rams. 

"At least they’re going into the game having beaten the Jets. But the Rams are a whole different deal with Jared Goff, one of the premier young quarterbacks. And the Browns still need to run the ball better with Nick Chubb and the defense still has to be more consistent. Myles Garrett has been playing pretty well but some of these other guys, I’d like to see more from them because they’re gonna need it with the Rams."