Week 3 Analysis: Breaking Down The Browns' Tendencies

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Traditionally, week 3 of the preseason is where teams somewhat "game-plan" for each other. Teams will often play their starters into the 3rd quarter and it's sometimes called the "dress rehearsal". However, preseason football is a fickle beast and with the regular season lurking just weeks away, teams do not want to "tip their hand" to the opposition. I'll let you decide if you find anything valuable as I take a look at the tendencies for the Browns on both sides of the ball from Saturday's match-up with the Colts.

OFFENSE

The Browns offense struggled to gain the rhythm and momentum previously demonstrated in weeks one and two. In fact, during its’ first away game of the preseason at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, the Browns looked like a completely different team. Keep in mind that the Browns were missing their two starting OG’s in Jason Pinkston (Ankle) and Shaun Lauvao (Ankle) and that this forced Oniel Cousins into extended action. The Browns OL's performance left a lot to be desired on Saturday. I saw Greco on roller skates a few different times being backed into Weeden's lap and I even saw him get tossed on his butt on a 3rd down passing play.


Cousins played under-whelmingly and on the first play of the second quarter he got blocked so hard that I don't even know how to describe it beside saying that the man ran into a brick wall. He looked like this:

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There was another play where Cousins seriously might have been taking a nap . . . or just missing a block and trying to hide:

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Brandon Weeden finished the day 12 – 25, 105 yards, 0 INT, 0 sacks, 48.6% completion percentage and a QBR of 59.6. As stated before, this was dramatically different than the statistics he put up in games 1 and 2:

(** click on all images to enlarge **)

Weeds2_medium

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The Browns lined Weeden up under center 21 times (56.7%) and he threw the ball 11 times, completing 6 passes ( 54.5%) and running the ball 10 times. From shotgun, Weeden threw the ball 14 times, completing 6 passes ( 42.8%) and running the ball twice. The Browns Trent Richardson managed 41 total yards on 8 touches / 7 rushes for 31 yards (4.4 YPC) and 1 reception for 10 yards.

The team lined up in 11 personnel 37.5% of the time running 15 plays. The team then favored both the 21 personnel and the 12 personnel equally, running them both 27.5% of the time, or 11 plays each. There were 2 plays out of 22 personnel and 1 play out of 10 personnel.

Here’s a look at what the Browns starters actually showed the Colts on offense pre-snap:


First Drive

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1) 12 Personnel: 2 TE, 2 WR, 1 RB, Weeden under center – RUN

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2) 21 Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB, Weeden under center – PASS – drops back passes to TRich on check down

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3) 21 Personnel: Single TE, 2 WR, 2 RB I-formation, BW under center – RUN

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4) 12 Personnel: 2 TE, 2 WR, 1 RB, BW under center – RUN

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5) 12 Personnel: 2 TE, 2 WR, 1 RB, BW under center - PASS

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6) 21 Personnel: 1 TE, 2 WR, 2 RB, I-formation, BW under center – RUN / Pitch out – Offensive holding

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7) 12 Personnel: 2 TE, 2 WR, 1 RB, Shotgun formation – PASS

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8) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB – Shotgun Formation - PASS

PUNT

Second Drive

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1) 21 Personnel: 1 TE, 2 WR, 2 RB, BW under center - PASS

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2) 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB, BW under center - RUN

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3) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, Shotgun formation – PASS , Little for First Down

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4) 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB, BW under center – PASS – great throw to Gordon but starred him down the whole time, patted ball.

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5) 12 Personnel: 2 TE, 2 WR, 1 RB, Weeden under center – RUN

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6) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, Weeden in shotgun – PASS – nearly caught by Cameron.

PUNT

Third Drive:

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1) 21 Personnel: 2 TE, 1 WR, 2 RB, Weeden under center – PASS

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2) 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB, Weeden under center – PASS

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3) 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB, Weeden under center – RUN

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4) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, Shotgun formation – PASS and FUMBLE by Little

Fourth Drive

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1) 21 Personnel: 1 WR, 2 TE, 2 RB, I-formation, Weeden under center – RUN

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2) 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB, Weeden under center – PASS

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3) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, shotgun formation – PASS

PUNT

Fifth Drive

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1) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, shotgun formation – PASS

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2) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, shotgun formation – RUN

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3) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, shotgun formation – PASS, nearly INT

PUNT

Sixth Drive

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1) 21 Personnel: 1 WR, 2 TE, 2 RB, I-formation, Weeden under center – RUN


Seventh Drive

1st drive of 2nd Half

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1) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, shotgun formation – PASS

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2) 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB, Weeden under center – RUN

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3) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, shotgun formation – PASS – Gordon drops pass, right in his hands

PUNT

Eighth Drive

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1) 21 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 RB, 1 TE, Weeden under center – RUN

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2) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 2 RB, Weeden under center – PASS

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3) 10 Personnel: 4 WR, 1 RB, shotgun formation – PASS

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4) 21 Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB, I-formation, Weeden under center – PASS

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5) 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB, shotgun formation – PASS, defensive holding

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6) 21 Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB, Weeden under center – PASS

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7) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, shotgun formation – RUN

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8) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, shotgun formation – PASS

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9) 12 Personnel: 2 TE, 2 WR, 1 RB, Weeden under center – PASS

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10) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, shotgun formation – PASS – stares down Cooper but just barely misses

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11) 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, shotgun formation – PASS – nearly INT but dropped

FIELD GOAL

Exit the Brandon Weeden and the starters for the Browns.


DEFENSE

The Browns' defense wasn't as dominant as they have been in the last two preseason games. They struggled to contain Andrew Luck's ability to pick apart zone coverage; stay calm and adjust under their pressure; and his ability to quickly go through all his progressions, resetting his feet and eyes, and finding the open receiver. That shouldn't be a surprise considering what a special talent this young quarterback is.

That being said, while the Browns' defense gave up some big plays, it didn't really break at any point in the game. A regular season game with a 10 -0 score at half time is still well within reach and had the offense been able to create some movement and some points tonight, things could have been far more interesting. It must be mentioned that the Browns defense was without starting OLB Jabal Sheard (Knee) / 2013 first round pick, Barkevious Mingo (Bruised lung) / FA acquisition and starting DT, Desmond Bryant (Back spams) / and CB, Chris Owens (arch). While Sheard's knee is considered minor, and the same with Owens and Bryant, Mingo could be a different story.

The somewhat depleted Browns defense blitzed 51% of the time vs. the Colts on Saturday, sending 5 or more rushers on 23 of the 45 total defensive snaps leading up to Andrew Luck and Brandon Weeden’s departure following their second drive in the third quarter.

From my counts, the Browns used a total of nine different defensive fronts tonight and seemed to favor the 3-3-5 and 3-4-4 the most. The Browns used the 3-3-5 formation 19 times, or 42% of the time, and blitzed from that formation 37% of the time (7 times). They used the 3-4-4 formation 12 times, or 27% of the time, and blitzed from that formation 75% of the time (8 times). The Browns also used the 2-4-5 formation 15% of the time (7 total snaps) blitzing from that formation 3 times or 42.5%. We also saw 4-4-3 (1 snap); 4-2-5 (1 snap); 5-4-2 (1 snap); and the 2-3-6 (1 snap). Below is the summary.

First Drive

3-4-4 – base rushing 7 guys, TJ Ward down in the box

2-4-5 – 4 man rush zone

2-4-5 – 4 man rush, Kruger with sack

2-4-5 – 4 man rush, Skrine w DB blitz on edge

3-4-4 – Ward up in the box, single deep safety

3-4-4 – Gipson up on slot WR, 6 man rush on big outside run play

4-4-3 – red zone, 5 man rush on pitch out

3-3-5 – 4 man rush, zone coverage

4-2-5 – 4 man rush, looks like quarters zone


Second Drive

4-3-4 – 5 man rush on a run play

2-4-5 – Ward up in the box, single deep safety; 4 man rush zone / man

3-4-4 – Ward in the box, single deep safety

3-3-5 – Ward up in the box, single deep safety, 6 man rush

3-3-5 – 6 man rush, Ward coming on safety blitz

PUNT


Third Drive

3-3-5 – 4 man rush

3-4-4 – 5 man rush – zone coverage

3-4-4 – 4 man rush

3-3-5 – 4 man rush

** Live feed doesn’t get back on frame in time to capture formation of this play **

3-4-4 Red Zone – 3 man rush, zone coverage

3-3-5 – Red Zone – 4 man rush; zone coverage

Goal line D – 5-4-2 – Touchdown Colts.


Fourth Drive

3-3-5 – Ward up in the box, single safety – 4 man rush

2-3-6 – Ward up in the box, single safety deep – 5 man rush

3-3-5 – 4 man rush

3-4-4 – 5 man rush, run play

3-3-5 – 6 man rush

3-3-5 – 4 man rush, zone, 2 safeties deep – flag for hit to head

3-4-4 – Red Zone / Goal Line – 6 man rush, B gap run stop

3-4-4 – Red Zone / Goal Line – 5 man rush – INTERCEPTION - Gipson!


Fifth Drive

2-4-5 – 4 man rush, run stop

2-4-5 – 2 midle linebackers up in the A gap showing blitz, press man, 6 man rush

(2 Minute warning)

3-3-5 – 4 man rush, man coverage outside, zone underneath

3-3-5 – 5 man rush, delayed blitz by Ward

4-3-4 4 man rush

PUNT

Sixth Drive

3-3-5 – 4 man rush

3-3-5 – inside linebackers showing A gap blitz, Ward up 7 yards from LOS, 4 man rush

3-3-5 – 5 man rush, Ward on safety blitz, DQ on delayed blitz

3-3-5 – Ward up in the box, 5 man rush

3-3-5 – inside linebackers showing A gap blitz, 5 man rush

PUNT

Seventh Drive

(First drive of 3rd quarter)

3-3-5 – 4 man rush

2-4-5 – Single safety, Ward steps up into the box, delayed 5 man rush

(Inside the Red Zone)

3-4-4 – 4 man rush, run read

3-4-4 – Both safeties in the box, press coverage on weak side, 6 man rush

3-3-5 – 4 man rush – Touchdown Colts.

Exit Andrew Luck and the starters for the Colts.

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