Since the reemergence of the Browns back into the National Football League in 1999, Cleveland fans have had very little to feel good about. Only two winnings seasons and one playoff trip show up on a ledger that notes six different head coaches and a 73-151 record. That includes 9 last place finishes in either the olfd AFC Central or the current AFC North. 2013 marks another “mulligan” as the the Dawg Pound enters year number two under embattled owner Jimmy Haslam and his tandem of President Joe Banner and head coach Rob Chudzinski.
The new regime inherited a roster that finished 24th in points scored, 25th in total offense, 24th in rushing, and 19th in passing. 2013 will mark year two for QB Brandon Weeden who will hit his 30th in mid October. Much is riding on the “aged” young quarterback and much is expected of his improvement over last season’s 14 TD’s vs 17 interceptions. But just taking a glance at some of the game footage I noticed a more confident, poised, and overall productive Weeden in Week #2. This was more like the player that I expected coming out of Oklahoma State in 2012 that might have been a little long in the tooth but certainly high in maturity. (Come on, enough already. Name him your starter!)
I’ve come to admire and respect Browns fans for their tremendous sense of loyalty and ever present optimism. 2013 might just be the season that things turn for Cleveland in a very competitive division that includes last season’s champs and a wildcard participant looking to make their own moves. Perhaps nobody follows the Browns as closely as Brendan Leister of DraftBrowns.com and I’ve come to lean on him heavily for any and all news from the “pound”.
Preseason Week Two Notes: Browns First-Team Offense
DraftBrowns.com Editor: Brendan Leister
In their second preseason game, the Cleveland Browns defeated the Detroit Lions by a score of 24-6. Although winning is always the ultimate goal, the more important thing that we can take away from the game is an evaluation of the Browns’ players in new schemes on offense and defense. Since I have a lot of notes from the game, I have decided that I will split them into multiple pieces. This piece will include notes on the performance and usage of offensive players that I expect to make a considerable impact during the 2013 season. The other pieces will include notes on defensive contributors and players that look to be competing for roster spots.
When the first-team offense was in the game, Norv Turner relied on 11 personnel (one back, one tight end) on eight snaps, 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends) on eight snaps, 21 personnel (two backs, one tight end) on six snaps, and 22 personnel (two backs, two tight ends) on two snaps.
Brandon Weeden improved upon his week one performance as he led the Browns to a 17-3 lead in a little over one quarter of action. He completed 8 of 12 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. He did an excellent job of spreading the ball around the field with ball placement and velocity. After a rookie season in which only 43.3% of Weeden’s passes came from shotgun, 11 of his 12 pass attempts (91.6%) came from shotgun.
Related Notes: In contrast to 11 of 12 pass attempts coming from shotgun, all 12 of the run plays by the first-team offense came while Brandon Weeden was under center. To put this in simple terms; when Weeden was under center, the Browns typically ran the ball. When Weeden was in shotgun, they typically passed the ball. Regardless of the fact that it is preseason, these unbalanced numbers support my case for the Browns to implement the Pistol as a staple of their offense in 2013.
Trent Richardson returned to the lineup and showed impressive burst as he carried the ball six times for 33 yards in his preseason debut. During Richardson’s rookie season, he only produced three runs longer than 15 yards (32-yard TD, 26-yard TD, and 19-yard run). In this game, Richardson eclipsed the 15-yard mark when he took the handoff on a Lead Draw, bounced the run to the outside, and fought for extra yardage to gain 17 yards.