Cleveland Browns desperately search for winning formula: 5 reasons to watch "Tailgate" this week

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Don't be Joshing Me

He's baaaack! 38-year old Josh McCown will lead the Jets into town fresh off their second straight win. That's right. The supposedly-tanking New York Jets have already won two more games than our Browns, meaning McCown has already won more games with the Jets than he won in two seasons with the Browns. But wait, there's more: this is also the first time in 14 seasons that McCown has actually won back-to-back games. So, how is he doing it? With the game plan that was supposed to be in play for the Browns: defense, and a running game. We haven't had much of either, but McCown is riding it and complementing it with steady play with the Jets. But the Browns know his weaknesses, and so do the Tailgate analysts. We're getting Bob Golic's take on how to throw McCown off his game.

Second Quarter Struggles

The pattern is familiar: the Browns try to start fast, stumble early on, hang around for a quarter, and then watch the other guys start to pull away in the second quarter. How bad has it been? Through four games, the Browns have been outscored in the second quarters 63-21. And once they're in the hole, the running game is abandoned. It's the exact scenario they've desperately tried to avoid, especially with a rookie quarterback already under the gun. Is it coaching? Adjustments? Mental lapses? The Tailgate analysts will tackle this issue.

Not-So-Special Teams

Chris Tabor has to get his group going. From the blocked punt for a TD in the season opener, to Adam Jones' 40-yard return on Sunday, this group has been hit or miss. Zane Gonzalez missed a 48-yard field goal early in the loss to the Bengals, and Jabrill Peppers has been tentative to say the least, repeatedly calling for unnecessary fair catches. It's time for this unit to become special again. The offense could certainly use the help. Pierre Woods built his career on special teams in New England, and will weigh in on how to kick start these guys.


Dumb penalties. Dropped passes. Complete breakdowns. The Browns look like a poorly-coached football team, to which Hue Jackson can only laugh and sigh, and say "over and over and over again" when asked if he addresses these issues. How long would some of these players last on a contender? And how do you become a winner with mistakes like these? We don't mince words on the Tailgate. Maybe it's time for the coaches to send a message to this team with a dramatic move. We'll tackle that issue as well.

Keeping It Together

Jackson insists that his team won't quit, and they did prove that last season, finally winning a game on Christmas Eve when they had nothing else to play for. But a second run at ineptitude may already be taking its toll. This team has regressed. How does Jackson keep things from unraveling, especially if they stumble again and lose to the Jets? Remember, these are the "winnable" games. Colts? No. Bengals? Uh-uh. Now the Jets. A loss on Sunday could mean the beginning of the end for Hue Jackson, who would be 1-20 as head coach of the Browns. I'd be against cutting him loose. I'd look at the guys in the front office, who haven't exactly provided Hue with star material. But it's an issue that needs to be discussed, and we will, on the Tailgate.

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