The Cleveland Browns 2022-23 season was another disappointment based on pre-season expectations. Many blame a multitude of players coaches and even front office staff. Under head coach Kevin Stefanski it looked as if this team would be contenders for years to come. When Stefanski was hired in 2020 he won AP coach of the year while also leading the team to the playoffs. That first season he found success. For instance, not only did the Cleveland Browns make the playoffs, but they also won a playoff game. In the following seasons, the team has gone 8-9 and 7-10. To sustain success Stefanski may need to give up play calling and be more of a CEO head coach.
The season started with Jacoby Brissett as the starting quarterback for the first 11 games. For his starting tenure, the offense performed very well with Brissett under center. He and Stefanski captained a top-ten offense that averaged 26.5 points a game. As always the Cleveland Browns run game was spectacular and established a top-five rushing attack in the NFL. After the 11-game suspension of Deshaun Watson ended the offense hit a bit of a snag. For instance, the offensive play dropped because the offense was changed on the fly to fit more of what Watson can do well. It may be fair to say he was a lot rustier than many expected him to be. While also being rusty Watson was in a new offensive system and a new football team. There was growth for him but more time is still needed.
The special teams unit was a liability for a good portion of the Cleveland Browns’ 2022-23 season. Therefore, this unit was largely not a factor during the season and lacked production. Things took a turn for the worse in training camp when return specialist Jakeem Grant went down with a season-ending injury. As a result of Grant being injured, the return game suffered for quite a while during the season. However, when rookie Jerome Ford took over as kick returner things changed and it became a valuable asset. Likewise, when Donovan Peoples-Jones took over as punt returner that improved as well. He even returned a punt for a touchdown. Rookie kicker, Cade York is a work in progress. Despite many speculating special teams Coordinator Mike Priefer has not been fired.
With sky-high expectations for this Browns’ defensive unit, they completely underperformed this season. Many believed that this Cleveland Browns team could have made the playoffs if the defense played better. If this defense played up to expectations and paired with a top-ten offense, the conversation could have been about the Browns going to the playoffs. There were miscommunication errors and missed assignments all season long. Missed assignments led to the Browns losing their second game of the season against the New York Jets. Above all, there are times when players lacked effort on the defensive side of the ball. Coupled with effort, and communication errors, the defense lacked discipline. As well there were multiple players who were frustrated with the way the defense was being run. Many players say they performed better when the defense was simplified. In addition, to all that defensive coordinator Joe Woods was fired. With the comments made by Jadeveon Clowney earlier in the week could have also contributed to the firing of Joe Woods.
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