The State of the Cleveland Browns

As we approach Thanksgiving, the Browns have completed 10 of their 16 regular season games. Their body of work has proven to the Cleveland faithful that there is still a lot of room for improvement. For starters, they have lost all 10 coin tosses this year. The odds of that occurring are 1 in 1,024, thus proving Cleveland's tough luck.

Cleveland has managed to come out victorious in four games this season. None of these wins have been very convincing, but a win is a win. The combined records of the 4 teams we have beaten is 10-30 (Colts 0-10, Dolphins 3-7, Seahawks 4-6, Jaguars 3-7). The Browns will have a sharp increase in the strength of their opponents to end the season with 5 divisional games still left to be played.

The Browns' offensive struggles have stemmed from 2 key issues: Predictable Play-Calling and the absence of Peyton Hillis. Head Coach Pat Shurmur's "pure west coast" offensive system has so far led to an unimaginative selection of plays. Up until this past week, the Browns had yet to produce a 100 yard rushing game from any of their running backs. This is something that Hillis was able to do 5 times last season. The Browns ineffective offense has only scored 14 touchdowns this season (3rd worst in the league).

The Defense has held strong which has allowed the Browns to keep most of their games close. Led by "Comeback Player of the Year" Candidate, D'Qwell Jackson (91 tackles), this defense is ranked first in passing yards allowed. Although, there is still room to improve in stopping the Run, they have given up the 4th most yards to opposing running backs.

The true Achilles heal to this team has been the lack of execution on the less-known aspects of the game. A few of these mistakes can be blamed on the coaching staff. A week one touchdown was given up because the defense failed to leave the huddle, the Oakland Raiders scored a game-changing touchdown on a fake punt, and a botched snap/missed field goal occurred in the final minutes against the Rams. All three of these debacles contributed to losses in very winnable games.

The season is far from over, 2 match-ups against Pittsburgh, including a prime time Thursday Night Football game, are still yet to be played. The Browns could play spoiler by defeating them in those two games. There are many important story lines to pay attention to over the final 6 weeks:

-Can Colt McCoy finish the season and become the first Browns' Quarterback to start all 16 games of a season since the return in 1999?

-Will rookie receiver, Greg Little, continue improving and become a true star receiver?

- Will Peyton Hillis return to the field and make a positive impact?

- And will the Browns be able to hold their own against the Bengals, Ravens, and Steelers to end the regular season?

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