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Cleveland Browns Roundtable Week 6

See what our writers have to say about previous Browns wins, Baker Mayfield and the game Sunday in Pittsburgh!

Can the Browns come out on top in a big matchup in Pittsburgh?

Welcome to week 6 of the NFL season Browns fans! The Cleveland Browns travel to their AFC North and historic rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers for week 6. See what our writers have to say about previous Browns wins, Baker Mayfield and the game Sunday in Pittsburgh!

1) The Browns have defeated two good but clearly flawed teams. What do you take out of the Cowboys and Colts victories?

The Surgiest of them all, SuperSurge

I take it as the Browns culture changing. Games like the Cowboys and Colts are game typical Browns teams find ways to lose. It’s a credit to Stefanski, his staff, and the players that we pulled those games out. Hopefully it is a sign of things to come.

Chris Richani

While both teams are flawed, the Browns deserve the credit they are due. The Browns of old would get beat soundly by either one of those teams; instead this Browns team delivered the sound beatings. There is obviously still a long way to go for this team, and they may still come up short against more balanced opponents. But the Browns have been incredibly disciplined with a lack of penalties, masterful clock management, and an admirable next-man-up mentality. Things like this transcend the competition and provide comfort and confidence moving forward.

The Man who is in the Rafters, and I’m not talking about Sting, it’s Q

From the Cowboys victory, my first takeaway is how good our offensive line has been. They absolutely imposed their will on a Cowboys D-Line that is supposed to be the strength of their defense. Dontari Poe is not an easy man to move around, and I barely noticed him out there. Antwaun Woods is no slouch, and I think Neville Gallimore is going to be a very goot DT in this league. Yet, they looked like a bunch of freshmen going up against our varsity offensive line. My next takeaway is just how exploitable our defense is. Whether it’s the lack of athleticism at safety and linebacker, or the boneheaded mistakes from players who have athleticism at those positions, there is a lot of work cut out for Joe Woods and his team to get these guys playing like a good NFL defense.

From the Colts victory, again, the offensive line is the first takeaway. But, my second takeaway is more confirmation that Philip Rivers is absolutely cooked. Oh, you want something about the Browns? Well, we saw more glimpses of what Baker can still improve upon–but also I saw a quarterback out there who was making a legitimate effort to improve and be coached. The way he tried to fight his instincts to bail on the pocket, and stood in there, was nice to see. Hopefully he continues to grow throughout the season.

2) Baker has had very up and down games so far this year. What should we take from the fact that Baker has been unable to maintain his performance in 2nd halves of games?

The Surgiest of them all, SuperSurge

Baker has shown glimpses of improvement this season. It’s hard to go through all the coaches and schemes and come out as a finished product. He has plenty of room for improvement and I’m gaining confidence in Stefanski to put him in the best positions to succeed. I also trust in this coaching staff to either believe in Baker and his future, or to explore options in the offseason if he’s stagnating. This offense is built to win-now, Baker needs to rise to that level consistently.

Chris Richani

It is hard to pinpoint the issue here. One theory is that as the game progresses and Baker takes more pressure and hits he begins to get more skittish and sloppy. Another postulation could be that Baker gets too comfortable when the Browns are in control of games and reverts to his old gunslinger mentality. If you ask Kevin Stefanski, he says he needs to do a better job with 2nd half play calling. Whatever the case, the Browns cannot afford a 2nd half slide in Pittsburgh and expect to emerge unscathed.

The Man who is in the Rafters, and I’m not talking about Sting, it’s Q

I don’t put any stock into splits of first half vs. second half, or home vs. road, or dome vs. outdoors. Take the entire sample, and you’ll have a better picture. Baker is still a developing quarterback who, at this point, is pretty much a rookie out there. Negatives? Boy, did last year screw him up. Positives? He’s not completely shell-shocked like Tim Couch or David Carr. He’s battling those bad instincts, and working to improve himself every week. Honestly, that’s all you can ask and I bet Stefanski and Van Pelt are loving the fact that their quarterback is this open to coaching, and embracing the asks they make of him.

CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 11: Cleveland Browns Safety Sheldrick Redwine (29) celebrates his interception with Cleveland Browns Linebacker Mack Wilson (51), Cleveland Browns Cornerback M.J. Stewart (36) and Cleveland Browns Safety Andrew Sendejo (23) in game action during a NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Browns on October11, 2020 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

3) In your estimation, is the Browns defense improving or getting lucky?

The Surgiest of them all, SuperSurge

A mix of both. As players start getting healthy and back into the lineup, the defense will improve. The name of the game for our defense is simple. Stuff the run, pressure the quarterback, and pray our LB’s and DB’s can make a few plays. When it’s working it looks great. When we don’t get pressure, it looks bad.

Chris Richani

I think it is a combination of both. I am uncomfortable with a defense that lives off of turnovers while also surrendering a ton of yards and scores. At some point the turnover creation will likely regress to the mean. With that said, it seems that the Browns are also improving incrementally as they get healthy and get newer players up to speed. It was nice to see Ronnie Harrison and Sheldrick Redwine make plays against Indianapolis. Mack Wilson’s snaps are increasing. Kevin Johnson and Olivier Vernon have worked their way back. The defense is far from a finished product, but there remains some untapped upside.

The Man who is in the Rafters, and I’m not talking about Sting, it’s Q

The Browns defense is improving. We have a new scheme, new players, and some major injuries. The young guy will continue to improve as they adjust to the NFL level. Our talent level should increase as guys get healthy. Everyone on that team should improve as they get more comfortable in our scheme and get coached up. I don’t think we’re going to be a top-10 defense or anything this year, but I see the groundwork to be a top-10 defense annually if we continue to grow under Woods.

4) Big AFC North matchup this week, who do you believe is going to win, Browns or Steelers?

The Surgiest of them all, SuperSurge

The Steelers have a ton of weapons on offense. They seem to hit on every WR they draft. Their defense is every bit as good as the Colts, in my opinion. This will be a great measuring stick as to how competitive we can be with a team that has very few flaws. The problem for the Steelers is Myles will be hungry. The team will feed off him, and will come out wanting to send a message. 30-24 Browns.

Chris Richani

I will give the slight edge to the Steelers this week. As much as I would like to pick the Browns, Baker Mayfield will still be banged up come Sunday. In turn I believe he will be looking over his shoulder and quick to bail on the pocket. This is particularly worrisome with the absence of Nick Chubb against the Steelers’ incredibly stout run defense. Ben Roethlisberger will likely make the Browns defense pay in ways Philip Rivers could not, and it may prove too much to overcome this week. 34-21 Steelers.

The Man who is in the Rafters, and I’m not talking about Sting, it’s Q

I think the Steelers are going to win. If Diontae Johnson is healthy, the pressure than he and Claypool will put on our secondary is going to be rough. Then with Juju and stonehands himself Eric Ebron working the middle of the field, I fear we don’t have the athleticism at the second level to match up. Ben should put up good numbers while making fewer mistakes than Baker. If we win, the key has to be our defensive line beating their offensive line and causing chaos, while our offensive line allows us to run the ball and control the game on the ground.

Been a Browns fan since birth but unfortunately don't remember much of the good times. Lived through expansion era, the Butch era, Romeo era, Mangini, Holmgren, Sashi, Dorsey and now we begin a new era!

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