Part of the idea behind these Sober Thoughts pieces is that I can look back on a loss a day later and realize that what I originally believed to be the worst parts of the game weren't really all that terrible. That's an impossible mission for fans of the Cleveland Browns this time around. Cleveland losing to the Detroit Lions was always a possibility. The Lions are, after all, a very talented team.
Nobody, not even the harshest critic of Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, could have seen this coming.
Sober thoughts on Browns losing to Lions: Weeden
Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski told reporters on Monday that Weeden will remain the team's starting QB despite the second-year pro throwing what will go down as one of the worst interceptions in NFL history on Sunday, a giveaway that prevented Cleveland from completing a fourth quarter comeback. It would be unfair to suggest that Weeden alone blew the game. The offense of the Browns was shut out in all but one quarter of play, and the team's defense looked unprepared to face off against Reggie Bush after halftime.
Chudzinski sticking with Weeden tells me two things: Chud and his coaching staff have little faith in backup Jason Campbell, and those individuals also don't see any real hope in a potential free agent pickup.
There is some merit to the suggestion that one play does not make or break a NFL career. I also understand that, when he is on, Weeden has the goods to lead a NFL offense. When he is bad, which occurs far too often, he is maybe the worst starting quarterback in the league. All were reminded of that second point in the fourth quarter of Sunday's contest.
Sober thoughts on Browns losing to Lions: Glaring weakness
Trent Richardson or no Trent Richardson, the Browns are lacking anything resembling a NFL-caliber rushing attack. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin led the team in yards gained on the ground against the Lions with 45. All of those were picked up on a single play.
Willis McGahee has obviously seen better days. Chris Ogbonnaya is not today an every down NFL running back. He may never become one. So many people are concerned with who will be starting at QB for the Browns next August that they fail to realize that the Browns are going to have to completely rebuild their run game in the offseason.
What's more worrisome with this aspect of the team moving forward is that the Cleveland offense is going to live and die with the play of its quarterback, a guy who is routinely a meltdown away from a terrible and costly miscue. Again, it all circles back to Weeden. I see no indication that he can handle that kind of pressure.
Sober thoughts on Browns losing to Lions: One bright spot
Don't look now, but Buster Skrine has put an unimpressive start to the campaign behind him en route to evolving into the team's most reliable defensive back behind Joe Haden. Skrine was again solid on Sunday, breaking up two passes and finishing the contest with four tackles. He also had a hand in Cleveland's lone interception of the game.
The team's offense is very much so in need of help. With that said, the defense of the Browns has a solid foundation. In Skrine and Haden, Cleveland has quite the one-two punch in the team's secondary; but only if Skrine limits the types of mistakes that have, in the past, resulted in penalties and opponents putting points on the scoreboard.