Offensive Report Card
The Browns had a typical Browns’ season, and this is reflected in the offense. This report card will reflect the performance of each position group, and how well they did, along with the depth of each position group.
After having four season with first overall pick, Baker Mayfield, Cleveland decided to move on from him. The Browns ended up trading for Deshaun Watson in exchange for three first round picks, a third round pick, and a fourth round pick. Additionally, Cleveland signed Watson to a 5-year, $230 million contract fully guaranteed. There was a catch though, with all the allegations against Watson, the NFL served him an 11-game suspension.
The Browns ended up signed Jacoby Brissett, who started the first 11 games of the season. Brissett was able to manage games, but struggled towards the beginning of the season. As the starter, Brissett went 4-7, while throwing 12 TD’s against 6 INT’s. He threw for 2,608 yards in his 11 games.
When Watson came back against Houston, the offense did not score an offensive TD in six straight quarters. Watson went 3-3 as the starter, while having a 7-5 TD-INT ratio. Watson was able to find his groove towards the end of the season, which is giving hope for the offense for next year throughout the city of Cleveland.
Overall Grade: C+
Cleveland is known for having one of the best running back duo’s in the league. This year they had the same running back duo, but the production was not what fans were used to seeing. Nick Chubb had a career year and that could be due to having the most carries of his career in a single season. Chubb had 1,525 yards off 303 carries, while also having 12 TD’s on the ground. Chubb proved his worth after signing an extension in the off-season.
Kareem Hunt saw very little action this year, which might be contributed to him asking for a trade towards the end of training camp. Hunt’s limited role was shown in his stat line with 468 yards on 123 rushes and 3 TD’s. With the limited role Hunt is not expected to resign with Cleveland this off-season.
As usual, the ground game for Cleveland was towards the top of the league and was the heartbeat of this offense led by Nick Chubb.
Overall Grade: A+
The receiving core also saw a shake-up in Cleveland, with Jarvis Landry leaving in free agency and Odell Beckham Jr. being released last year. Rashard Higgins also did not return to Cleveland after not resigning with the team in the off-season.
The new number one receiver in Cleveland was Amari Cooper, whom the Browns acquired in trade with Dallas. Cleveland gave up two fifth-round picks and a sixth round pick. Cooper stepped up with having 1,160 yards with nine TD’s. Cooper also had 78 catches on the season.
Cooper’s counterpart, Donovan Peoples-Jones was a solid number two. DPJ recorded 61 catches for 839 yards and three TD’s. Cooper was more of the deep threat while Peoples-Jones was more used as a possession type of receiver.
After those two, David Bell was the next best at this position with only 214 yards. It is easy to say that the Browns are going to need help here next season, and expect a move for a WR this off-season.
Overall Grade: C
The tight end room also looked a little different this year after releasing Austin Hooper in the off-season. This allowed the newly extended David Njoku to step up as the number one tight end for Cleveland.
Njoku signed a four-year $56.75 million contract during the off-season, and just like Chubb, proved he is worth that contract so far. Along with having one of the best catch’s this season, Njoku showed he has also improved as a blocker which is a necessity in Stefanski’s offense. He had 58 catches with 628 yards and four TD’s. Njoku was a reliable target in the passing game for Brissett and Watson.
Third year tight end Harrison Bryant had an okay season. Being used in more of a blocking role his receiving stats are not on par with Njoku’s. Bryant had 31 receptions for 239 yards with only one TD.
The tight end position is a position that is stable but could see some improvement in the offseason.
Overall Grade: C+
In the last couple years, the Browns have had one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. With a core like they had, it is hard to keep them all together, as we saw J.C. Tretter not get resigned by the team.
As a unit, they gave up 44 sacks, which was the 12th most in the league. Jedrick Wills Jr., third year LT out of Alabama was the most concerning on the O-Line allowing six sacks, and having 10 penalties against him. Those penalties usually came at the worst time as well.
The other tackle, Jack Conklin, missed three games due to an injury. Injuries have been a concern for Conklin the last couple of years, but when he is on the field, he is reliable and a solid piece for the O-Line.
Guard Joel Bitonio, had another great season, and is headed to the Pro-Bowl along with Chubb. The interior O-Line was a bright spot for Cleveland this year, even though the entire unit took a step back this year.
Overall Grade: B
Cleveland Overall Offensive Grade : B-
The overall grade for the Browns’ offense is a B-
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