The Cleveland Browns are coming off a win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football in week 2. The win evened Cleveland’s record at 1-1, but there are improvements to be made. Cleveland plays host to the Washington Football Team in week 3. Having three important defensive pieces (Mack Wilson, Greedy Williams and Kevin Johnson) back will help. However, if the Browns want to be real contenders this season, the offense will have to build on its success in week 2 and apply that success to the remainder of the 2020 season. Here are three keys for Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns offense for week 3.
Three Keys for Baker Mayfield to Maintain Momentum in Week 3
Establish the Run/Play-Action Early
No surprises here. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are the x-factors for Cleveland’s offense. Baker Mayfield has shown time and time again that he is at his best out of play-action. Passing out of play-action allows receivers to run free down the field and keeps the defense on its toes. The Browns can be a very good team if they stick to their game script and do not shy away from their two explosive backs. There is no reason that they should not be able to establish the run early, setting up play action and allowing Mayfield to pick the Washington Football Team’s defense apart in the middle of the field.
Chubb and Hunt should combine for 30-plus carries every game, but especially in a game against Washington. The Football Team boasts an impressive front seven, and they added to it this off-season with their selection of Chase Young at number two in the 2020 NFL Draft. Though the Browns offensive line has been impressive through two weeks, this is the biggest test thus far for that unit. The best way to sustain drives is to run the ball as often as possible on first and second down, and keep the defense guessing with play-action passes.
Baker Mayfield Must Limit Turnovers
Mayfield did a good job of this in week 2. However, he threw one pick when William Jackson baited him into an easy interception off play-action. Mayfield is going to have to clean that up. However, last week was a massive step up from Mayfield’s 2019 season, when he threw 21 picks. Long, methodical drives are the Browns calling card, and in order to accomplish those drives, turnovers are not an option.
Mayfield looked comfortable in week 2 moving within the pocket. Too often in 2019, he looked to escape clean pockets, which led to ill-advised throws on the run, and in turn, turnovers. If he stays as poised as he did against the Cincinnati Bengals and limits forced throws, the Browns will be in excellent shape.
Get The Big Time Weapons Involved
Cleveland has yet to play a game in which both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry are involved in 2020. Yes, it has only been two weeks, but the wide receiver tandem that Cleveland boasts is capable of mush more than they have shown this season. Head coach Kevin Stefanski needs to scheme some plays for both of the Browns Pro-Bowl receivers. If they are both involved and making plays, it is beneficial for the Browns other pass-catchers like tight end Austin Hooper and even Kareem hunt out of the backfield.
NFL teams often script the first 15 plays of a game on offense. For Cleveland, Landry and Beckham need to be a part of those first 15 plays to keep the defense guessing and to open more room between for the tackles for Chubb and Hunt. When the superstars are involved, everybody is involved. Both Landry and Beckham should see close to 10 targets in week 3. They are both excellent in space and both come equipped with reliable hands.