2-2 is not what it seems
The Browns have new systems on both sides of the ball. They have a young quarterback. 2-2 should have everyone in Cleveland pretty happy, right?
Not really. The Browns and their fans are frustrated because they know the record is misleading. They lost at home to Andy Dalton and the Bengals. They were outplayed at home by winless Miami, but escaped with a miracle victory. Another team with a new coach — Tennessee — put a serious beat down on Cleveland in Cleveland.
Yes, it’s still 2-2. But they haven’t played well.
Jury out on Colt McCoy
It’s still way too early to make judgements on Colt McCoy. Early this year, he’s taken a bit of a step back in a new system. He’s 29th out of 32 quarterbacks in yards-per-attempt. A revolving group of receivers with nebulous roles haven’t sorted themselves out.
The offensive line was supposed to carry this team, but it’s only been average in the early going. The team seems to miss Eric Steinbach.
Youth movement on defense
While the offense has largely disappointed, the defense has come along quicker than expected. Rookies Jabaal Sheard and Phil Taylor look like solid picks. Cornerback Joe Haden looks like a Pro Bowler. Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron always seems to coach up an overachieving group.
Hillis situation looms
Pat Shurmur will be tested by the Hillis situation. Money, playing time, and effectiveness in a new scheme are all factors here. The Browns want to see what Montario Hardesty can do while also using Hillis. You get the sense the Browns don’t see Hillis in Cleveland long-term. Evan Moore has also lightly questioned his small role on the team.
Road gets tougher
Three of Cleveland’s next four games are on the road. Seven of the next 11 games are away from Cleveland. The schedule is somewhat forgiving overall (Home games against Seattle, Jacksonville, and St. Louis), but the Browns have to play a lot better to stick around .500.
At this point, the Browns don’t look like a team that will be competitive against playoff-caliber competition.