The Browns Need Speed At Receiver To Take The Next Step

The Browns Need Speed At Receiver To Take The Next Step

Mac Blank
1 year ago
3 min read
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper walks off the field during game

Just last week, the team announced the hiring of Jim Schwartz as their new defensive coordinator. This move was huge due to everyone knowing the defense needs to be tweaked for the better, but what about the other side of the ball? 

Browns Still Need To Focus On Offense

It’s no secret that the Browns offense, outside of one game, struggled after the bye week. 

This was due to a lot of things, some being not establishing the run in a play action based scheme or struggling quarterback play from both Jacoby Brissett and Deshaun Watson. What was most evident with this offense is the same problem that has plagued this offense since 2020 -- lack of speed. 

Of course this goes without saying you can expect to see improvements in the passing game just solely as Deshaun Watson continues to return to his old self after a long absence from the game. At the end of the day, if you truly believe Watson is the guy, you have to surround him with the best offense possible. 

This team has a dangerous duo of receivers in Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones, but it’s glaring on tape and in stat sheets they have no one to stretch the field horizontally or vertically. 

Interesting Numbers

This year, the Browns were 26th in yards after catch, 16th in average depth of target, 18th in air yards before the catch, and 20th in yards gained per attempt. When a quarterback doesn’t consistently push the ball down the field with success, it allows the defensive backs to play tighter coverage and closer to the line of scrimmage. In turn, passing windows become smaller and it puts the quarterback in tougher situations. 

The lack of stretching the defense affects the ground game as well. Year after year Nick Chubb faces defenses that are consistently “stacked”, meaning the defense has eight or more defenders directly on or right behind the line of scrimmage. Forget about making play action more dangerous, imagine making one of the best running backs in the league better. 

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Per Pro Football Focus, this year Nick Chubb faced “stacked” boxes over 30 percent of the time and faced stacked boxes as high as 55 percent of snaps against the Miami Dolphins. Despite this, he still averaged his usually impressive five yards per carry this season, so one can only imagine what he can do with less defenders in the box.

Of course the Browns have tried to fix this and have been unsuccessful. Whether it was the failure of the Odell Beckham experiment, the swing and miss of the Anthony Schwartz draft pick, or the tragic training camp injury of Jakeem Grant.

 General manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski are working on a solution especially since the reports came out about owner Jimmy Haslam want to adopt more of an “air raid” approach to the offense next season.

Between free agency and the draft in April, there are plenty of options out there to bring more speed to the offensive side of the football. Hopefully the right explosive weapon is brought in so we can fully see Kevin Stefanski’s offense at full tilt.  

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