It’s Time to Start Questioning the Cleveland Browns Play Calling

It’s Time to Start Questioning the Cleveland Browns Play Calling

3 years ago
3 min read
It’s Time to start questioning the Cleveland Browns play calling

Let me start by saying this: it PAINS me to write this this article, it really does. As someone who LOVES what Kevin Stefanski has done through his short tenure with this team, this isn’t easy. However, I have to leave the home town fan in me out of this and say it how I see it.

Kevin Stefanski playing the analytics game

I understand this argument entirely, however, when I look at the Browns forthcoming matchup against JJ Watt and the Arizona Cardinals, it WILL NOT work. I was doing some research on the Browns and Cardinals to write this because I had questioned Stefanski’s play calling in the previous week against the Chargers and it became very clear to me numbers wise that it doesn’t stack well. 

The opponents on fourth down against the Cardinals defense are 3-for-10. THREE FOR TEN! The Browns offensive fourth down percentage is 45.45% (5-for-11) so if you level it out and say the Browns go for it eight times on fourth down (which is insanity) they convert only three times. I know what the analytics say with going for it on fourth down but I don’t think this works with this Browns team now. They must show me something in the next two to three weeks for me to say different.

Kevin Stefanski and random offensive wrinkles on fourth down

I think that Stefanski is trying to get some wrinkles in to help OBJ get involved but if you’re running a shallow cross in tight coverage on fourth and two throwing to OBJ at the sticks, that just doesn’t logically work out. I would love to see more I-Formation, off set I-formation, or power I-Formation type plays or some ace formation action to Chubb or Hunt to get the best tandem going. Chubb is on pace to rack up 1500 rushing yards and Hunt can get close to 900 yards on the ground. That’s a crazy amount of yardage and those two will find a way to make it work.

The other thing I look at is time of possession. For the Browns to knock off the Arizona Cardinals, I think the Browns need to hold the ball for over 35 minutes of game time and need to go on two scoring drive that take up eight to nine minutes of game time. The less chance you give Kyler Murray, better this is going to look for you. If you keep that defense out there for that length of time, by the third quarter, you will start getting some big running plays and that will open everything else for Stefanski and the offense to get some points in rapid succession.

The Big Takeaway

The big takeaway is this: Stefanski needs to best utilize the NFL’s best rushing tandem in order to set up everything else, that worked in the past. Everybody knew it was coming and Stefanski essentially said, “try and stop it.” I want THAT Stefanski and THAT Browns rushing attack to set up the passing game back. I would also love to see Bryant, Chubb and Hunt in a power I formation. It sets you up with an option to have solid pass catchers out there, a crazy good running attack and it BEGS the question, who are you going to try and stop?

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