"The Sunday Five" is a loosely-titled piece where I talk about five NFL- or Browns-related topics related to this past week. In today's edition, we take a look at the Browns running plays to the right side of the field, the key to avoiding the Colts next season, and more.
One thing that I have been curious with about our offense is whether we are favoring the right side too much when running plays, and that includes both passing and running plays. I know Eric Mangini used to favor running behind the likes of Floyd Womack and John St. Clair, and it's always been noted that Joe Thomas is better known for his pass blocking than his run blocking. The Browns have run the ball 57 times behind right guard, which ranks 2nd in the NFL in attempts. Not including plays up the middle, the Browns have run the ball 108 times to the right side and just 78 times on the left side. Last year, the Browns ran it more to the left side than they did the right side, although there wasn't a huge disparity.
During the 2011 season, the Browns have totaled the following statistics for short passes:
Short Left: 79 attempts (23rd most in NFL)
Short Middle: 64 attempts (11th most in NFL)
Short Right: 140 attempts (3rd most in NFL)
Not including the middle of the field, about 64 percent of the passes were thrown to the right side versus the left side. That proportion was a little less in 2010, and a lot less in 2009. These percentages could be treated as useless (for example, the Packers' percentage is at 68 percent in 2011), and I know a right-handed quarterback is bound to favor that side of the field. I just wonder if the combination of run and pass plays would be better if they were more evenly distributed, like what the San Francisco 49ers do.
This is what Mike Holmgren said about the Browns' offensive line after last week's loss, pulled from an article by the Canton Repository's Steve Doerschuk:
"Pinkston is a rookie. Lauvao … in effect, this is his rookie year. … Who would be effected most by the loss of an offseason program? I would say the offensive line. (Line coach) George Warhop does do a great job … It all looks nice on paper until things start flying around hot and heavy."
Next year, the Browns will have Joe Thomas, Alex Mack, and Eric Steinbach under contract. The key to the offensive line next year is whether Steinbach is good-to-go. He'd probably be ready to play right now if he wasn't on the injured reserve, but that's just pure speculation on my part. If that's the case, we're back to focusing on how to improve the right side of the offensive line. Tom Heckert previously said the team will be more aggressive in free agency this coming offseason. Hopefully they can find a good right guard or right tackle who excels in run blocking.
I mentioned this earlier in the week, but I'm not sure how many people saw it. Between the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars, who would be an easier matchup for the Browns in 2012? We can assume that Peyton Manning will be back and that the Colts will be a tough team again, while the Jaguars will be the same inconsistent team they always seem to be. I'd rather face Jacksonville. Right now, unless the Jaguars are three (basically four) games ahead of the Colts. The Colts will finish in last place in that division barring a miracle. That means in order to avoid the Colts, the Browns will need to finish in third place in the division. The Bengals are the most likely team to fall off, and although unlikely, two weeks from now, there's a chance that Cleveland could only be a game behind them.
I woke up this morning to see my HP flat screen monitor (of five years+) would not receive power, so right now I am stuck with a large backup CRT monitor that takes up nearly me entire desk. Yikes! I forgot how much space these things took up. For now, I think I can still monitor all of today's action well enough. Go Browns!