Lloyd: Browns can’t overcome any adversity; one bad game leads to another and another

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BALTIMORE – There are 10 games left in what is quickly becoming a death march in the desert, and four more games before the Cleveland Browns may even begin to determine if it was all worth it.

The pin that was pulled and the grenade thrown into the franchise in March, the grueling offseason of sordid lawsuits and allegations against the quarterback Deshaun Watson and the general uncertainty surrounding their starting quarterback all factored into that miserable 2-5 start that left the Browns hurt, angry and now singled out.

Moments before manager Kevin Stefanski appeared for his post-match press conference following the 23-20 loss to the crows at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, a game of shouting could be heard coming from the Browns locker room. Athleticism‘s Zac Jackson Heard a voice clearly shouts “no fucking leadership!” although it was impossible to identify who said it.

This explosion followed John Johnson III‘s commented earlier in the week that guys need to be more engaged when they’re out of the building. All of this is a terrible look at an organization that over the past year has dealt with the drama surrounding Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr.

The Browns apparently had a toxic culture for years. We thought 2020 marked the start of all this change as they were a fourth stoppage in the AFC Championship game. It’s hard to see much evidence of this change now. Stefanski has said all offseason that “winning is the deodorant” of locker room conflict.

Right now, the Browns are in desperate need of soap and shampoo. They stink.

With four straight losses and a season on the brink, it’s time for the leaders to take over the locker room and lead. Whoever they are. At present. Before the rest of the season unfolds around them.

It wasn’t the worst loss of the season, far from it. The Browns played well enough to win. Defense created key revenue when it needed it, while Jacoby Brisset played winning football for much of the day and avoided the costly late-game turnover that plagued him for much of the season.

The Browns won the game amari cooperThe 34-yard touchdown grabbed the sideline late in the game. The Ravens aren’t built for long, fast touchdowns right now. lamar jackson made only nine passes during the day. It could have been that, a 27-23 Browns victory and a happy return flight. Instead, Cooper was flagged for pass interference and pushed on a play that didn’t look much like the typical sideline rush on most deep balls on NFL Sundays.

“Every game, that same (game) isn’t called,” Cooper said. “It’s every game.”

The Browns, as they are currently constructed, cannot overcome any adversity. One bad play against them leads to another and another.

The failed kick recovery against the Jets spawned an epic defensive collapse. Key penalties near the goal line in Atlanta and a defensive collapse cost them another win over the Falcons.

This time it was Cooper’s canceled touchdown that turned to dust when Cade York60-yard field goal was blocked. This followed a questionable false start and decision to move the ball 1 yard on the attempt.

Michael Dunn was flagged for a false start on what would have been a 56-yard try, but Dunn never seemed to budge. No one on the line knew why the flag was thrown and former center JC Tretter texted Joel Bitonio that was a terrible call. Stefanski never had many explanations either.

long snapper Charley Hughlett jostled the ball slightly, which Ravens coach John Harbaugh says is a penalty. I showed Hughlett’s replay to a few members of the Browns. They thought it was a common move in all long shots. Hughlett’s movement was enough to bring the Ravens crashing down early, taking the penalty.

Officials called him on the Browns. An offside in Baltimore would have been fourth-and-inches and the Browns likely would have gone for that. Instead, it pushed the kick far enough that the Browns felt like they needed to move the hold an extra yard.

Was this yard the difference in whether the kick was blocked? We’ll never know, but York was easily passing 62-yard tries at this end of the stadium before the game. And we all know he has the leg for kicks of 60 yards or more, so even moving the heist a yard feels pointless. It’s that inability to overcome adversity. It permeates all facets at this time.

If the season is not yet lost, it is certainly swirling. We knew it was going to be tough when Watson’s suspension was extended to 11 games, but seven games is a little early for players to be screaming about ‘no fucking leadership’.

No, it wasn’t the worst defeat. On the contrary, there were signs of growth. But throwing games they should have won against the Falcons and Jets, among other things, eliminated the Browns’ margin of error earlier than it should have evaporated this season. Watson’s acquisition has left Browns fans conflicted and angry, holding the Browns back to their winner-or-other mentality that brought Watson here in the first place.

We march against Cincinnati then go to Miami and (God help us all) Buffalo. It doesn’t get any easier. The players are angry and the fans are disgusted. It’s time for someone, anyone, to grab hold of the boat and bring it back to calmer waters. Now.

(Photo by Deion Jones and Lamar Jackson: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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