DETROIT – In this issue of Hey, Mary Kay! I answer questions about Joe Woods, Deshaun Watson and more.
Hello MaryKay: How likely are the Browns to be relegated from Joe Woods this offseason? — Nick Sette, Cleveland, Ohio
Hey Nick: The defense has eight more games to pull together and fulfill their potential this season, or the Browns will have to take a long, hard look in the offseason and determine where it all went wrong. Some of it is schematic, some of it is in-game adjustments and some of it is personnel issues, including injuries and players not doing their best. There has been a lack of continuity in defense this season, with the likes of Jadeveon Clowney, Denzel Ward, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Anthony Walker Jr. and Jacob Phillips missing most or parts of the season. Myles Garrett rolled over his car and missed a game and wasn’t himself for the next few weeks. Despite all that, the Browns didn’t seem to have an answer to anything the Dolphins threw at them, and that can’t happen, especially after a bye week. Defense and specialty teams come under intense scrutiny in the offseason.
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Hello MaryKay: Do you think Deshaun Watson will make the Browns a Super Bowl contender if he comes back? #brown #QB1. #4. #Bakerwho — Samuel Braziel, Houston, TX
hey samuel I do think Watson will make the Browns a Super Bowl contender, but probably next season. The Browns have almost no margin for error for the rest of this season and would need to go 7-1 to stay in the playoff talk. They’re really looking to next year to try and make that elusive Super Bowl and need to focus their entire offseason on doing just that.
With players like Watson, Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb in their prime, the Browns can’t afford to waste another season like this year. I still think they need to add another Pro Bowl-caliber receiver and probably another Speedster if Anthony Schwartz doesn’t show up. They also need to bolster their run defense with some bigger tackles and linebackers. If they add a few pieces, they should have what it takes to go the distance.
Hello MaryKay: Do the Browns have plans to address defensive tackle position? Why doesn’t it seem like a priority given how poor the run defense was? – Amy, Avon, Ohio
Hello Amy: I think the Browns have no choice but to look at defensive tackle position in the offseason, especially given their porous run defense this year. It’s not that they haven’t addressed it this season, it’s just that the D tackles haven’t lived up to their potential for the most part. Jordan Elliott was expected to have a breakout season in his first year as a starter and currently ranks 128th in the NFL in qualifying tackles with a 34.3 grade, according to Pro Football Focus.
The other tackles didn’t fare much better. Fellow starter Taven Bryan is 101st with a score of 48.3, fourth round pick Perrion Winfrey is 111th with a 45.6 and Tommy Togiai is 135th with a score of 30.3. The Browns have not traditionally invested much in the non-premium position, but it’s time to address it. They’ve given up 160 yards or more four times this season, all losses.
Hello MaryKay: What is the identity of this team? How can we be so far into the season and this team has no idea who it is? Andrew Berry should also own some of this team’s mistakes. He did nothing to improve what was a clear weakness, defensive tackle. Also, his mid-round picks were pretty disappointing. Congratulations on your amazing achievement! #liveinthemoment — Jeff Lerner, Avon, Ohio
Hello Jeff: I think we’ll know more about the identity of this team when Deshaun Watson takes the field. The Bills’ identity is based on Josh Allen. Same with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, Joe Burrow and the Bengals and so on. Defense will work differently when the offense is stronger. However, the defense is below par for her talent level. It should be an aggressive, attacking, dominant defense. That needs to be aspired to next season. They should be high-scoring, dynamic and versatile on offense and relentless on defense.
Hello MaryKay: Do you think (former Vikings coach) Mike Zimmer is a candidate to replace Joe Woods as defensive coordinator? The only reason I don’t think that will happen is because Kevin Stefanski was Mike Zimmer’s subordinate in Minnesota and it would be weird for Zimmer to work for Stefanski now. I think they will probably hire another defender coach and try to make him coordinator, which will be very risky because these players want and need someone with a proven track record. Otherwise don’t buy. — Steven C., Kettering, Ohio
Hello Stefan: Zimmer is certainly an excellent defensive coordinator and a badass coach, but I’m not sure Stefanski would want to hire his former boss, and I’m not sure Zimmer would want to work for his former offensive coordinator. But stranger things have certainly happened, and Zimmer will be one of the best defensive heads out there post-season. In the event Stefanski splits with Woods, Zimmer’s name would no doubt come up. Most of Stefanski’s coaches are on the young, up-and-coming side and I have a feeling he would gravitate back in that direction if he hires a new D coordinator.
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