The Cleveland Browns have proven to be one of the NFL's most entertaining teams this season but not for the reasons many had expected. The hapless franchise continues to find itself immersed in controversy despite an abundance of talent. Following Sunday's convincing 38-24 loss against the Arizona Cardinals, emotions boiled over.
NFL Media's Mike Silver reported that wide receiver Jarvis Landry and other Browns players were yelling at the Arizona sideline to "come get me," which is a phrase that wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had reportedly uttered to other teams in pregame warmups earlier in the season. Landry was also with first-year coach Freddie Kitchens on CBS cameras during Sunday's game.
Cleveland fell to 6-8 with its most recent loss and slammed the door shut on any potential playoff berth. By all accounts, it is a disappointing season for an organization that has not competed in the postseason since 2002. Safety Damarious Randall was questioned Monday about whether or not the team still believes in Kitchens. Randall, according to Tom Withers of the Associated Press, issued no comment. It is fair to question Randall's motive though. The safety, who is amidst a contract year, was benched against the Pittsburgh Steelers for supposedly missing a practice.
All of this comes after. Kitchens addressed his job security Monday.
"Let me clarify in a sense. I care about my job. I only care though about getting better today...Everybody here is focused on that. Dee and Jimmy Haslam and (General Manager) John Dorsey would much rather me be worried about getting our team to play better than be worried about my job security. The only thing I was trying to illustrate is the fact that I am only concerned about what we are doing as a football today, and that is it. Of course, I want to be back. Listen, we can make it all bad all we want, but we have done some good things this year. We have the leading rusher in the league. We have two receivers over [900 yards]. I do not even know where they rank now, but nobody has a 1,000-yard rusher, a 1,000-yard receiver and another receiving almost 900 yards. Defensively, up until yesterday, we were second in the league in third downs and getting off the field. We were ranked pretty high in the red zone and making guys kick field goals. We just need to execute better when we get to the critical moments in a game. There is a lot of good here. It is just we get so swept up in the negative that we can't see the positives."
There is a lot of he said, he said going on around the Browns and, sadly, for the fans, it is all too familiar. The vicious cycle is ongoing in northeast Ohio and some are questioning if it might ever stop. There is a laundry list of issues to blame for this team's struggles: indefensible personnel changes, poor clock management, bad play calls, missed assignments, on and off the field distractions, etc. The Browns only have two games left to create some momentum entering the offseason but those two games are against division rivals Baltimore and Cincinnati.
The season appears to be trending toward another offseason of drastic changes.