Thursday, October 6, 2016

Krunch Time With Katelin: Cleveland Browns Quarter Season Report

By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

The Browns are 0-4 with 12 games left. The first quarter of the season has been tough for the Browns. Just on offense they lost their two quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown, first round pick Corey Coleman, two centers Cam Erving and Austin Reiter. Then on defense they lost rookie pass rusher Carl Nassib, their starting defensive tackle John Hughes (who was released), and their secondary has been banged up. And lets not start on the kicking situation.

Browns Offense Ranks: 12th in yards per game, 25th in passing yards per game, 1st in rushing yards per game, 13th in third down percentage, and 26th in points per game.


Robert Griffin III is a lost cause because of injuries. He suffered a shoulder injuring at the end of week one and was put on IR with a possibility of return. Griffin didn't play bad during week one but he did look lost at times. Griffin was 12/26 for 190 yards and one interception. Fans and the coaching staff would love to see more of Griffin but with him being out for most of the season its highly unlikely he becomes the quarterback of the future.

Josh McCown along with Terrelle Pryor might be the MVP of the first quarter. McCown played one game which was against the Ravens in week two. He went 20/33 for 260 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions. The guy played most of the game with a fracture in his non-throwing shoulder. Yeah the Browns ended up losing the game, but with McCown under center the offense played extremely well. Even with the shoulder injury, McCown is projected to be back some time in the middle of the year.

Cody Kessler started week three and four. The guy did exactly what the Browns need him to do, and that is not lose the game. Kessler in the two games went 49/73 for 467 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The offense with Kessler has been run heavy, and a ton of short passes. What's interesting about Kessler is that he has almost the exact same stats as Carson Wentz through their first two games.

Kessler: 49/73, 467 yards, 1 touchdowns and 1 interception
Wentz: 43/71, 468 yards, 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions

Quarterbacks Grade: B-

Running Backs

Isaiah Crowell is another bright spot on this team. Crowell is second in the NFL in rushing yards. Crowell is averaging 6.5 yards per carry. (61 carries/394 yards) and three touchdowns including a 85 yard run against the Ravens. Another positive about Crowell is his ability to hold onto the ball. He has yet to fumble this year and hasn't had a fumble since his rookie year in 2014. Crowell like stated in previous articles is the "Jeremy Hill" of Hue Jackson's offense. Also he is projected to have just under 1600 yards on the ground.  

Duke Johnson, the "Gio Bernard" of Hue Jackson's offense, is a playmaker. He's only gotten 24 carries but he's got 124 yards on the ground for 6.2 yards per carry. Where Johnson does his most damage is in the passing game. Johnson has 18 catches, which is second behind Terrelle Pryor, for 115 yards. Not really sure if Duke Johnson will get an increase in carries with Isaiah Crowell balling out, but Duke has an important job in this offense.

Running Backs Grade: A

Wide Receivers

Terrelle Pryor looks like a NFL wide receiver. Pryor is first on the team in catches (19) and receiving yards (290). In week three Pryor had eight catches for 144 yards, he ran for 21 yards and a touchdown, and threw for 35 yards on 3/5 passes. Pryor at 6'4 is a matchup nightmare. He's played really well in week four catching his first career touchdown pass against Josh Norman.

Corey Coleman unfortunately got hurt in practice after having a breakout game in week two. Against the Ravens, Coleman had five catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns (which ranks first on the team). Coleman is expected to be back by mid-season after breaking a bone in his hand. Its unfortunate that he got hurt but he did show he can play in this league.

Other Receivers like Andrew Hawkins and Ricardo Lewis have done an okay job trying to replace Coleman. Its extremely hard to judge these other receivers since the offense changed with Cody Kessler under center.

Wide Receiver Grade: B-

Tight End

Gary Barnidge has been underwhelming but when he's been thrown too he's delivered. Barnidge has 16 catches on 18 targets, 160 yards, 10 first downs, and a two point conversion. Barnidge hasn't been productive but he's been reliable for rookie quarterback Cody Kessler. What's odd about Barnidge is that week one he didn't have a catch. Its odd because he was projected to be a target for Robert Griffin III and he was coming off a season where he caught 79 passes for just over 1000 yards and nine touchdowns.

The other tight end Randall Telfer is mostly used as an extra blocker. He was targeted once and doesn't have a catch yet this year.

Tight End Grade: C+

Offensive Line

The Offensive line has been solid this year even though they have used three different starting centers in four weeks. The Browns are ranked first in the run game and its not just because of Isaiah Crowell. Guys like John Greco and Joel Bitonio have done a fantastic job clearing up space in the middle. Joe Thomas is the G.O.A.T. and we all know this. He's the anchor of this offensive line and the guy is unbelievable. The only weak spot seems to be right tackle with Austin Pasztor. Pasztor against the Miami Dolphins had six penalties for over 70 yards loss. Now the pass blocking has been average since the group has given up 11 sacks in four games which is tied for seventh most. Which caused Josh McCown's shoulder injury. Obviously sacks happen and with the constant changes its hard to get a rhythm but group has been solid overall.

Offensive Line Grade: B

Defense Ranks: 22nd in opponents total yards per game, 19th in opponents third down percentage, 16th in opponents passing yards per game, and 24th in opponents rushing yards per game.

Defensive line

Guys like Carl Nassib, Danny Shelton and Jamie Meder are really growing. Nassib broke his hand after a promising first week but is projected to practice and might play in week five. Guys like Danny Shelton and Jamie Meder are playing really well. Shelton doesn't look lost like like year and isn't getting out played by Meder who was an undrafted free agent. Meder and Shelton are starting in the Browns 3-4 along side of Xavier Cooper. Meder took over for John Hughes who started week one but was scratched in week two and then released. The Browns went really young on the defensive line which is most likely the reason for the higher opp. rushing yards per game.

Defensive Line Grade: C+


The Browns linebackers are really solid. The four starting linebackers are Demario Davis, Christian Kirksey, on the inside and rookies Emmanual Ogbah and Joe Schobert on the outside. Davis and Kirksey are really good in pass coverage. Kirksey ranks second on the team in total tacks (29) and Davis ranks third (25). Ogbah and Schobert doesn't have a sack yet but they have a couple pass deflections. Pass rush wise the Browns are lacking with only six sacks, but Cody Lemonier and Cam Johnson have three sacks and two forced fumbles between them. Injuries have also hit the linebacker position in last years second round pick Nate Orchard being placed on the IR with a ankle injury.

Linebacker Grade: B-

Defensive Backs

Joe Haden had a terrible game in week one, but redeemed himself in week two against the Ravens. Joe Haden locked up the Ravens top guy and had two interceptions.  The injury bug hit Haden which made him miss week three against the Dolphins. Haden came back in week four and played okay while still nursing his groin injury.

Jamar Taylor, who is a former second round pick of Miami, has really played well. He has reinvigorated his career in Cleveland. He has 16 tackles and two interceptions. Taylor has been the constant at corner with the injuries of Joe Haden and Tramon Williams. Taylor seems to be one of those guys that could be here in Cleveland long term. The Browns really seem to like him and again he's flourished in his opportunity.

Jordan Poyer is first on the team in tackles with 31. He's an average free safety who really hasn't impressed. He's below average in the passing game which is why he has a lot for tackles. This is the first time Poyer is the full-time starter, but through four week free safety is a position of weakness on this team.

Shifting to the strong safety position, Derrick Kendred looks like a player. He is fourth on the team with 20 tackles and he's played over 80% of the snaps on defense which is crazy for a fourth round rookie. But with Ibraheim Campbell out Kendred has stepped up and shown a lot of progress through the first four weeks.

Other DBs:  Briean Boddy-Calhoun played really well considering he was an undrafted rookie and was a late pick up for the Browns. Boddy-Calhoun has an interception which he returned for a touchdown against Miami and he also has a sack which was against the Redskins. Tramon Williams on the other hand was hit with the injury bug in week three which caused him to miss week four against Washington. Williams struggled against Jordan Matthews and Steve Smith Sr and seemed to be slow at times. But Williams is the lone vet on the defense along side Joe Haden.

Defensive Backs Grade: B

Special Teams

The Special Teams have been awful. The Kicking game with Cody Parkey and Patrick Murray have been terrible. Murray had two kicks blocked in week two which ended up being the difference in the game (a blocked PAT that was returned for two points and a blocked field goal). And Cody Parkey who missed three field goals in week three against Miami including a game winning field goal at the end of regulation.

But it not just the Kicking game that has struggled, the punt return game has been equally as bad. The Browns only have five punt returns for 33 yards and Duke Johnson has one of them for 18 yards. The Browns need to find a punt returner and stick with him. Jordan Poyer is the only guy to have more than one punt return. As of right now the Browns just have a punt catcher not a returner.

As for Punter Britton Colquitt has done a fine job as punter. He's a seven year pro and was part of the Super Bowl winning Denver Broncos last year. Colquitt only has one touchback. He has an average of 47 yards with a long of 59 yards. Not much else to say about Colquitt, the guy is a solid punter.

Special Teams Grade: D


Hue Jackson has done an amazing job the first four weeks. The team is in every game and looks prepared. Jackson's play calling seemed to be a bit pass heavy but other than that there really isn't much to complain about. He made this offense competitive even thought they are on their third quarterback. Hue Jackson gets the most out of his players and in a tryout year of sorts that's all you can hope for. Also guys want to play for him you can see how he reaches players and they trust him.

Ray Horton is basically doing the same as Hue but on the defensive side of the ball. Horton has put these guys in a position to win and be successful. He's been aggressive at times which is his MO but not as much because of the injuries to Joe Haden and Tramon Williams.

Coaching Grade: A

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