It's a four-question Friday as we dive into an overflowing Browns Mailbag. [
I do feel the defense is remarkably improved. The offense, however, per the media, seem to commit a number of drops by the receivers. How does the media differentiate between a "target" vs. a "drop," vs. a "catchable" ball? -- Elmer L., Bangor, Maine
Drops were a hot topic after last week's game at Indianapolis, as Cleveland receivers got their hands on a number of DeShone Kizer passes but saw many fall incomplete or, even worse, intercepted. Drops are among the most subjective stats in football, and it's tough to come away with an official number from any given game. Stats LLC does its best, and their totals are often lower than what you'll see in media reports and general observations. Entering Week 4, the Browns are tied for fifth in the NFL with five official drops. San Francisco leads the way with eight.
Numbers aside, drops were a concern of Hue Jackson's after the loss to the Colts, and he's hoping to see a better result Sunday against the Bengals.
"I wish I could explain it. I wish I could explain the drops," Jackson said. "I can't."
Was Sammie Coates brought in just for special teams? It seems like he flies downfield on punt and kickoff coverage but doesn't use that speed in his WR routes! And if Rashard Higgins, Jordan Leslie, and Kasen Williams are all gelling with Kizer and creating good chemistry, who do you think would be the odd man out when Corey Coleman returns? -- Rick A., Huntington, West Virginia
No, Coates was acquired to help the Browns at wide receiver, and there's still plenty of time for him to do just that. Coates had less than a week to digest a brand new playbook heading into Cleveland's season opener against Pittsburgh, so he was limited to special teams duties. In Week 2, Coates received significant playing time at wide receiver but was unable to come down with any catches. By the end of the game, he was clearly dealing with a hamstring injury and has since been sidelined. He's questionable entering Sunday's game after missing last week's at Indianapolis.
How long will it take to work Williams into the wideout rotation? I've only seen him in on a couple occasions when we really could have used his presence on simple routes. -- Brian E., Sandusky
Williams wasted little time working his way into the wide receiver rotation and played significant snaps in both Week 1 and Week 3. He was inactive Week 2 when the numbers worked against him, as Higgins was elevated from the practice squad into a prominent spot in the slot. Williams was targeted in key moments in both games but was unable to come away with a catch. He has one catch for 10 yards and should expect more opportunities in the future as he develops more chemistry with Kizer.
"Accuracy is a combination of not only the mechanics of the quarterback and the footwork and those things, but it has a lot to do with timing," Kizer said. "It is going to be on us to make sure that we get back out there as soon as we possibly can to work on that timing and have the chemistry needed to make sure that when I do throw a ball early that it is exactly where he expects it to be so he can come down with the ball."
With a rookie quarterback, why is Hue Jackson running such a complicated offense? I don't understand the need for all of the shifting around. Isn't it important to simplify the play-calling for a young quarterback? -- Evan L., Leesville
Jackson asks a lot from his quarterbacks, but his experience with them at a rookie level -- he worked with both Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco at the early parts of their respective careers -- should bring comfort in the fact he knows what "overwhelmed" looks like, and he hasn't seen it from Kizer. Asked last week if Kizer needed a wristband for the play calls, Jackson said it wouldn't be necessary because of the rookie's handle of the offense.
"We played with a lot of different pieces ... I think sometimes that happens," Jackson said. "We had some guys playing out of position, guys weren't sure where to be, a guy went down here or there, so we had to work through that. I think that was the culprit more so than anything, but then we do still as a unit need to work faster and move faster. So we will do that."