Browns Pro Bowl receiver pinpoints when things went downhill for Cleveland in 2019, says offense had no plan

Going into the 2019 season, the Cleveland Browns were one of the most hyped teams in the NFL. After adding Odell Beckham Jr. and hiring a new coach, the team actually had some high expectations heading into the season. However, as with most things related to the Browns over the past 20 years, the team ended up struggling and the season ended with a lot of disappointment. 

The Browns hype train was almost immediately derailed in Week 1 after a 43-13 loss to the Titans. By the time Week 8 rolled around, the Browns were sitting at 2-6, and even though there were still eight games to play, it seems that most players were already beginning to lose hope on the season. As a matter of fact, Browns receiver Jarvis Landry recently revealed that the team’s 24-19 loss to the Broncos in Week 8 was basically when things hit rock bottom. 

“I got a hint of it, the Denver game,” Landry recently told Complex when asked when he thought the season might be lost. “After that Denver loss, a game we should have won.”

Although the Browns rebounded to get to 5-6, Landry said the final nail in the coffin on the Browns’ season was the team’s December losses to the Steelers and Cardinals. 

“I want to say that the Pittsburgh, Arizona, that was very tough for me, the whole time,” Landry said. 

If you’re looking for someone to blame for the Browns struggles, look no farther than Freddie Kitchens. Apparently, the recently fired Browns coach didn’t really have any idea how to coach during a game. According to Landry, Kitchens could script up the team’s opening plays (which is done before the game), but after the scripted plays were done, no one seemed to know what the plan was. 

“I’ll say this, the first 20 plays of a game are scripted calls,” Landry said. “The first 20 plays of the game are calls that come from a team’s tendencies of how they approach the game in the first quarter or the first drive, so it can be predictable, what the defense is going to do. After that, it’s just kind of off of play-calling. Obviously, it comes down to execution, it comes down to making the throw, making the catches, making the blocks, but I just don’t know what the plan was [after the first 15 plays].”

Considering 90% of the game is played after those first 15 plays, that’s definitely a huge issue, and likely one reason why the Browns decided to let go of Kitchens after just one year. 

Landry’s comments are even more interesting when you consider that former Browns assistant Bob Wylie basically said the same thing in August. According to Wylie, Kitchens didn’t deserve the head coaching job because he didn’t really coach the Browns’ offense at any point in 2018, because that was being done by Ken Zampese. Wylie strongly believed that the only reason Kitchens got the coaching job was because of his relationship with Baker Mayfield. 

“Baker likes Freddie,” Wylie said at the time. “There’s a good relationship there even though Kenny Zampese did all the coaching there. Baker likes Freddie, so that had to [play a factor] into the decision, (But) Freddie didn’t have any coordinator experience or head coaching experience.”

The good news for the Browns is that their new coach, Kevin Stefanski, actually has some experience calling plays, which should bode well for next season.

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