We have seen exactly one half of the 2017 NFL season. Currently, the Cleveland Browns stand at 0-8, and are seriously running out of time to turn this thing around. Sadly, that narrative sounds all too familiar in Cleveland. But why exactly are they winless at the bottom of the AFC North? Let’s take a look, and give out some Browns season grades for the second quarter of the 2017 season.
Second Quarter Cleveland Browns Season Grades
This quarterback room, as it currently stands, is a disaster. DeShone Kizer has thrown seemingly countless red zone interceptions in the season’s first half, although he has slightly improved recently. Honestly, that’s one of the things that keeps this grade from being an F. Outside of the menial improvement, this Browns quarterback room has been a wreck.
Kevin Hogan looked awful in the week six loss to the Houston Texans. Now, he doesn’t even dress, in favor of Cody Kessler. Kizer has begun to look alright, but still has not looked like a franchise guy. It seems that, as usual, the Browns could be looking for a quarterback at the top of the draft next year.
Running Backs: C
The running back grade here stays steady. Although Isaiah Crowell has continued his utterly disappointing season, Duke Johnson has emerged as an electrifying playmaker for this team. Crowell’s and Johnson’s grades cancel out here, and leave us with mediocrity. The running backs haven’t been great, but they have been at least alright, all things considered. Hue Jackson might finally be figuring out how to use “The Duke” correctly, though, which is certainly a welcome sight.
Wide Receivers: C-
I’m going to give this wide receiver grade a serious shot in the arm. Josh Gordon, if he stays on the field, is one of the best receivers in the National Football League. Corey Coleman is out with an injury, but he should be back sometime soon this season. Additionally, new receiver signee Bryce Treggs looks pretty good.
Kasen Williams has not been the player we thought he could be, but hey, neither has Kenny Britt. Speaking of Kenny Britt, he has been…well, less than mediocre. But, on the plus side, Hue Jackson has taken a liking to benching Britt due to his lack of work ethic. Without Britt on the field, the offense actually seems to run more smoothly. Hopefully, Jackson keeps this philosophy up. Britt is just dead money at this point, and will continue to be until morale improves.
Tight Ends: B
David Njoku has really come into his own in recent weeks. He’s only a rookie, but in weeks five through eight, he has collected nine receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. Rookie tight ends rarely ever light up the league, so Njoku is doing just fine as of right now. He has looked more comfortable in the offense, and should continue to do so as one of Kizer’s favorite targets.
Seth Devalve has looked solid, at least. He was a middle-round pick, but he has pleasantly blossomed into a functional starter for the Browns. Once the Browns continue their rebuild, he might struggle finding a role in the offense. Right now, though, he has been a serviceable option for Kizer to throw to.
Offensive Line: B-
A moment of silence for Joe Thomas. The Ironman went down in week seven, and you could hear a pin drop in FirstEnergy Stadium. 10,363 consecutive snaps to start his career, and with a torn tricep, it was gone in an instant. However, the offensive line kept on keeping on. In week eight, Spencer Drango stepped in as the next man up.
Against Everson Griffen, Drango allowed only one sack. Griffen is in the prime of his career, and honestly should have terrorized Kizer. But Drango kept the faith, and along with Joel Bitonio, kept Kizer upright. Keep up the good work, left side of the line. Outside of those two, Kevin Zeitler and Shon Coleman have looked at least decent. Looks like this line is finally starting to gel together. Get well soon, Thomas.
Defensive Line: A-
Perhaps the most frustrating player on this Browns team is Myles Garrett. Why? Well, because we have seen what he can be, and it’s awesome. However, he just cannot consistently stay on the field. Even with injury concerns, though, he completes this defensive line. Emmanuel Ogbah is great, but having Garrett across from him makes him so much better. With those two working the edges, Danny Shelton can come in screaming for a sack. Jamie Meder is a meat grinder, and Caleb Brantley is coming into his own a little bit. Please, football gods, let this defensive line get healthy. It is phenomenal when at full strength.
Look, I’m not giving the linebackers a C+ because they haven’t performed. The linebackers are getting a C+ because they have underperformed a bit. Christian Kirksey is still solid, but is not racking up the monster numbers that he did last season. Jamie Collins was in concussion protocol, so I will spare him in this grading. Joe Schobert has stepped up tremendously in Collins’s absence, so as an individual, he gets an A.
Like I said in my first quarter season grades, this secondary is just so weird. It still feels unnatural with Joe Haden not in brown and orange. Additionally, Jabrill Peppers seems to be lost at points, despite being freakishly athletic. Briean Boddy-Calhoun has been a solid cornerback option, but one corner does not a secondary make. Ed Reynolds is now a free agent, despite having a solid season in 2016. Please, Gregg Williams, figure this one out. You are a secondary away from making this a truly solid defense.
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