clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Playing the Percentages Offensively

Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Terry Pluto continues to dazzle me on Sundays. After posting the percentages of how often certain players saw the field defensively for the Browns, he shifted to the other side of the ball this week.

It's worth noting that since our offense was really good to begin with, "analyzing" the offensive percentages won't be as enlightening. However, some aspects should serve as a reminder as to why we were successful. With the research and percentages fully credited to Pluto, here are my thoughts:

(Disclaimer: In my analysis, I'll try to refrain from mentioning the possibility of players getting injured this season. There's no need for me to say 'if he get's injured...' for every player; it'd be too repetitive.)

1. Derek Anderson (96%): My goodness, it's a miracle. Such a high percentage alone for a Browns quarterback means that we didn't have to worry about a quarterback controversy. No Kelly Holcomb/Tim Couch debate. No Jeff Garcia/Luke McCown debate. No Trent Dilfer/Charlie Frye debate. In regards to Brady Quinn, there were reasons people wanted to give him a shot, but the situation was night and say compared to the other three debates.

Plays like this one are the reason Edwards saw the most playing time of any offensive player besides the linemen.

2. Braylon Edwards (97%): Besides a few members of our offensive line, Edwards saw the most action offensively. He was clearly one of the best receivers in all of football last season, and there's no reason to believe he'll have a dropoff season this year.

3. Joe Jurevicius (68%): This is where Donte Stallworth comes into play. Jurevicius' percentage is lower than I expected -- I'd expect a No. 2 receiver to see the field at least three out of every four plays. While Jurevicius is a target I love having on the team, I think he'd benefit from having less snaps, allowing him to be more effective when he's brought in on third downs or down near the goal line.

4. Tim Carter (35%): Something's wrong here. Big time. When a receiver is on the field for 35% of the plays and I can't remember him having a positive impact in a single game last season, it creates a hole in the offense. I agree with Pluto's take on this percentage -- this will hopefully be the distribution of plays that Jurevicius receivers this year.

5. Kellen Winslow (86%): For those questioning Winslow's health -- yes, he may have issues, but he works through them. We didn't have any other receiving tight ends that Anderson seemed acclimated to throwing to last season besides K2. That means we were without a receiving threat at the tight end position for 11 percent of our plays (note: I use Edwards' 97% as the benchmark). Is that where rookie Martin Rucker -- besides two-tight-end sets -- will be utilized this season?

6. Steve Heiden (55%): Heiden is expected to be back at camp soon after having back surgery in the offseason. Though we drafted Rucker, I don't expect him to cut into Heiden's playing time that much. Heiden is our blocking tight end -- something that Rucker has never been asked to specialize in. However, Pluto notes that the Browns believe Rucker's blocking abilities were underrated simply because he was never asked to block in college.

Lewis' percentage would likely increase to around 65% if he had played in every game. Still, he racked up over 1,300 yards.

7. Jamal Lewis (56%): Don't be surprised that Lewis played just a little over half of our offensive plays. Remember, he gained over 1,300 yards last season and recorded nine rushing touchdowns. Also, he basically missed two entire games (against NE and MIA) early on in the season. Lewis' goal is to improve upon those numbers this year, and he's sounded motivated to do so throughout the offseason.

8. Jason Wright (38%) / Jerome Harrison (4%): I lump these two together for comparison's sake. We had a running back on the field 98% of the time if you combine the percentages, leaving the other 2% for plays like five-wide or when Cribbs was used in the backfield. I'd really like to see Harrison's percentage shoot up to 25% this season, which would cover third-down situations basically. Wright has done a solid job, but I think Harrison has the extra "waterbug" factor that can contribute to clutch plays.

9. Lawrence Vickers (47%): I like mixing in single back formations here and there, but with a bruiser like Lewis, I'd lean more towards giving him an extra fullback to take out a defender. Pluto mentions that the coaches like his ability to catch the ball in the flat when Anderson is facing pressure from the defense and needs to dump the ball off. I get frustrated when I see Anderson throw the ball to our fullback considering all the weapons we have, but if it's between a pass to Vickers or an interception, I'll take the pass to Vickers.

10. Joshua Cribbs (6%): Bump it up. Cribbs sees a lot of work on special teams, but what happens every time we bring Cribbs in for a trick play? It seems to work. Maybe it's good that we don't over-do it, because the defenses will catch on to it. However, I find it hard to believe that with his abilities we can't work in several plays for him in the offensive set per game. And, when are we going to see him throw the ball?

11. Offensive Line: I'll list each offensive lineman's percentage:

Joe Thomas (100%)
Hank Fraley (100%)
Eric Steinbach (99%)
Kevin Shaffer (89%)
Ryan Tucker (61%)
Seth McKinney (45%)

Those percentages are clear indicators of a healthy offensive line. Our top three linemen played nearly every snap, showing strength on the left side of the line. Shaffer's numbers dropped a little when Romeo Crennel starting flirting with the idea of easing Tucker back into the lineup. And, of course, when McKinney went down, Tucker filled in at guard.

All six of those linemen are returning this season. On top of that, we'll have Rex Hadnot's services at our disposal. There is still reason for concern if one of our tackles suffer a injury, but overall, we're in very good shape in terms of depth and talent on the offensive line again.

Playing the percentages, there's no room for Wilson to be involved in the offense.

In Summary

-Jurevicus should get Carter's playing time, while Stallworth will get Jurevicius' playing time. This is, unfortunately, where I believe Travis Wilson will be left out of the mix yet again.

-I'd like to see Harrison exchange some playing time with Wright.

-Rucker can provide more of an offensive threat when Winslow isn't on the field, but we can't just cut deeply into Heiden's time.

-The offensive line is even deeper than last year.

-Cribbs should be utilized more in offensive sets. Also, a brief tidbit Pluto mentioned with special teams: Chaun Thompson participated in 71% of our special teams plays, tops on the team. Pluto expects Shantee Orr to fill that gap.