The Browns are coming off of a disappointing loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Browns managed to put up a season-high 42 points but in a losing effort. Sunday’s loss showed both the strengths and weaknesses of a tough Browns team that came close but couldn’t quite close things out against LA.
Sunday also showed us who needs to step up and play the way they’re expected to. Let’s take a look at the top three Browns that need to step up if Cleveland has a chance against the Arizona Cardinals.
Picking on just one of Brown’s cornerback would be unfair. Outside of Denzel Ward who left the game on Sunday with an injury, and Greedy Williams who played well despite being dinged up, the entire secondary struggled. Cornerbacks A.J. Green and Troy Hill are going to have to step up big time whether Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams are able to go or not.
While the cornerbacks might’ve underperformed a bit on Sunday, the bigger fault goes to the safeties. The Browns gave up three passing touchdowns of 20 plus yards including a 72 yarder and a 42 yarder to Mike Williams.
Both were a result of blown coverages by Ronnie Harrison and Grant Delpit. Jack Johnson III also needs to be more productive at the safety position, as he played every defensive snap, but had just 4 tackles on the day.
Arizona has one of the hottest offenses in football and Kyler Murray is one of the best QBs in the league. He’s got plenty of receivers to throw to as well, with DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, A.J. Green, and Rondale Moore.
The Browns showed their vulnerability in the secondary against the Chargers and Arizona has the playmakers to make them pay. If the corners and safeties don’t step up, it could be another long day for Cleveland’s defense.
2. Myles Garrett
I know, I know, Myles Garret has seven sacks on the year and is leading the NFL in that category. 4.5 of those came against Justin Fields in the quarterbacks’ first career start and he was looking starry-eyed and lost for the entire game. Besides those sacks, Garrett has had just 2.5 sacks in four games, which isn’t good enough for the hopeful defensive player of the year.
Kyler Murray has shown elusiveness and playmaking ability unlike many in the league and if the Browns hope to win on Sunday. Garrett and company will have to contain him. Murray’s too good of a quarterback to stop completely, but Cleveland can’t give up 493 total yards and 47 points and hope to win. It simply won’t happen the today’s NFL, and certainly not against Arizona.
3. Odell Beckham Jr.
This one should come as no surprise. Odell missed the first two games of the year and has yet to catch his first touchdown of the season. His stats through three games are abysmal and look more like a decent one-game state-line. He has just 9 catches for 124 yards, with 5 and 77 of those numbers coming in his first game back against the Bears.
If the Browns have any chance of winning against the Cardinals or against anyone for that matter, Odell will have to step up in a big way. It’s hard to place all of the blame on a wide receiver, however, as his success depends on the man throwing to him. Baker shares in some of the blame for Beckham’s woes, but in a game where Mayfield had 23 completions for 305 yards and two touchdowns, Odell was nowhere to be found. He caught two out of three targets for just 20 yards.
Unless these players step up against Arizona, Cleveland will undoubtedly fall to 3-3 and might even fall into a tie for last place in the AFC North.