The #Browns had a major offensive resurgence under the watchful eye of now-head coach Freddie Kitchens in 2018. Jarvis Landry, acquired in an off-season trade with the Dolphins, made the Pro Bowl in his first season with the club. Rashard Higgins, Breshaud Perriman and rookie Antonio Callaway had varying levels of success due to their clear rapport with rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield.
It still isn't enough.
Offensively, the Browns are talented and have pieces to continue improving in the short and long term. Callaway especially showed promise with his ability to make chunk plays down the field and Higgins became a reliable chain mover for Mayfield. The question isn't weather or not these players are talented, but whether or not they're more than role players.
Understandably, the lack of quality play for the past ten years has created a tendency for Browns fans to overrate players that achieve even a modicum of success. There is no group that is feeling the love more than the quartet of receivers right now. Many fans have gone as far as to say the team doesn't need to add more receiving talent to this roster.
That's incredibly short sighted and doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
This position group relied too strongly on fringe NFL players last season. Cleveland cut or traded two of their top three receivers before or very early in the season. Higgins played very well for the most part, but he struggled to stay healthy and that ultimately makes him unreliable. Callaway made flashy chunk plays throughout the year but had issues with drops for most of the season. Perriman had some nice moments when thrust into the starting lineup but he had such a small sample size that he cannot be relied on as a full-time starting option. Even Landry, who the Browns consider a cornerstone player given the contract extension they signed him to, struggled with drops and consistency throughout the season.
Wide receiver is still a need. Often times, Baker Mayfield completed passes in spite of the players he had to throw the ball to. Despite only playing in 13 games Mayfield was among the league leaders in "tight window" throws last season. This means his receivers caught a lot of balls but didn't necessarily get the separation they needed to on a consistent basis. The receivers had to be schemed open by Kitchens.
Some of that is due to Landry being the top threat on offense, even though he is more suited to be a pure slot receiver and not a downfield burner. It's simply a role the Browns haven't filled yet, and an offense can work without a true number one receiver (look at the New England Patriots), but it hinders what Kitchens can do as a play caller and what Mayfield can do as a quarterback.
The Browns did a good job utilizing the players they had last year, but adding more pieces to the puzzle is never be a bad thing for a team on the cusp of turning the corner. If the offense is going to ascend, they must continue to build around the talent they already have and allowing the receivers currently on the roster to organically fill their natural roles will do just that.
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