The Browns secondary didn't need to re-watch the tape from Sunday's disappointing 31-30 loss to the Jets to identify the biggest problem that led to several game-costing plays.
Communication, or lack thereof.
Players from the group have spoken about the issues they've had the first two games in relaying play calls and coverages, and the problems have been apparent on several big plays the first two weeks — a 66-yard touchdown that fueled the Jets' comeback Sunday, a game-tying 10-yard touchdown from New York before halftime and two big plays last week against the Panthers. One was a 50-yard gain that eventually led to a touchdown, and another was a 75-yard touchdown.
The secondary knows such mistakes are inexcusable for a group that has largely remained intact from a season ago.
"We just have to come in like we are today, make corrections, get it corrected on the field and try to find a way to communicate," CB Denzel Ward said. "We were in the game, so we just have to find a way to finish. That's our plan for next game — communicate and find a way to win."
Check out photos of the Browns against the Jets in Week 2
The Browns have three days to solve the problems before they're back at FirstEnergy Stadium on Thursday against the Steelers.
Players and coaches spent the bulk of Monday reviewing the tape from Week 2 but have no choice but to move on quickly with a short week. They'll spend Tuesday in full preparation mode for Pittsburgh, and for the secondary, plenty of time will be spent in practice working through ways to ensure coverages are efficiently delivered to everyone on the field.
Ward said the group commonly practices that with crowd noise blasting through a giant speaker to replicate the loud environment of home games. But it's clear the group needs to talk even more to clear the confusion that has cost them in crucial moments of the first two games.
It sounds like a simple solution for such a big problem, which is why Ward is confident the group can rebound.
"I think it's an easy fix," Ward said. "I say we have to over-communicate when we're out there and make sure everyone is on the same page."
Greg Newsome II agrees.
The Browns work on late-game situations every practice, and Newsome said Sunday that the group had been solid in their communications in those settings — even with the crowd noise. The work, though, just hasn't translated on the field, and Newsome believes the fastest solution is to talk more and talk loudly.
"I feel like we had a great camp, and I feel like, at practice, we communicate," he said. "Obviously, we need to over-communicate now and find a way to fix those things."
Whatever the solution is, the Browns need it by Thursday. All teams in the AFC North are 1-1, and Cleveland can quickly flush the sting from Sunday by delivering a win that would propel them to first in the division.
Doing so, however, will require much better play from the secondary, and the Browns can't afford to waste time in the four days they have between games to find their fix.
"We have to be problem-solvers," Stefanski said. "We have to find solutions any which way. There are a bunch of different ways you can do it, but we have to find solutions so that when we are in a position like we were yesterday, and it's an obvious passing situation, we just can't let that happen."