The "new" Cleveland Browns came out and really laid an egg last weekend in our season opener. The offense struggled and was apparently handicapped without wide receiver Josh Gordon and guards Jason Pinkston and Shaun Lauvao. On the other hand, the defense played very well and created pressure on the QB, even without rookie OLB Barkevious Mingo in the line-up. In the end, fans got more of the same thing they've witnessed since the 1999 return with another home opener chalked up in the loss column.
The offensive line was simply offensive. They ranked among the worst in the NFL in terms of protecting the QB - allowing a NFL leading 9 hits on the QB; 14 QB hurries (tied for 3rd); and 6 sacks (tied for 1st). The offensive's line ability to pass block was ranked 29th which was in the bottom 12% of the NFL for the day. The offensive line didn't do much better against the run either, only assisting towards 3.6 yards per carry average for the day, but then again our "workhorse" Trent Richardson only touched the ball 15 times.
Brandon Weeden was sub-par and was pressured on nearly 51% of his passing attempts (2nd to Matt Ryan who was pressured 52% of his drop backs). Brandon Weeden's flaws were accentuated while under pressure, causing him to lock onto wide receivers and primary reads; miss open players; deliver the ball without the desired accuracy and timing; and in some cases, actually holding onto the ball too long.
When we look at the defense, it's a whole other story because for the most part they played great vs. the run but with the exception of Joe Haden and Tashon Gipson, our secondary looked very shaky vs. the pass. The biggest issue, besides the secondary, was that we dropped two catchable INT's that turned into points for the Miami Dolphins. That, to me, can't happen. We have to make those plays, especially if get pressure on the QB and force poor throws. Credit the defense as they produced 4 sacks and 10 QB hurries.
I'll highlight some plays from all 4 quarters, good and bad, that are focused on the offense. Let's jump into the film room below.
** Click on all pictures to enlarge **
First play of the 2013 Browns season
The Browns are in 12 personnel: 2 TE, 2 WR and 1 RB with Weeden under center.
It's a run play, a sweep to the left side. Greg Little comes across after the snap and absolutely levels Dannell Ellerbee. Here you can clearly see both Joe Thomas and John Grecco pulling around into space. Browns' #82, Gary Barnidge, has sealed his man inside perfectly. #75, Oneil Cousins, is diving at his man's legs at the second level, but will miss, as will Jordan Cameron.
Above you can see Cousins, Cameron, and Schwartz all on the ground, but each of their men is still in pursuit. Mack and Little's men are the only ones on the ground. Meanwhile, look at the lane that's produced thanks to the seal block by Barnidge and the pulling OL. This power sweep ultimately nets Richardson 8 yards.
Richardson follows the blocks and then cuts it back inside, quickly, and then explodes to gain about 7 more yards. On this play, Richardson looked quick and explosive.
The Browns come out here in 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE and 1 RB, with Weeden under center.
This particular play worked out well for the Browns because of Richardson's ability to avoid a tackle and burst through the lane.
Richardson takes the handoff, meanwhile Cousins gets bounced off his man, #91, Cameron Wake and back into their NT. The play is designed to go right. Everything ahead of him looks good with Schwartz, Mack and Cameron matched up perfectly.
Richardson beats Wake to the outside, explodes up the lane and then cuts back inside beating the pursuing safety for a total of 10 yards on the run.
Nowhere to run in some cases:
The play is probably a decent gainer if Cousins and Schwartz can hold their blocks. Instead, Cousins chips Schwartz' man and loses some balance, and isn't able get to second level to block the ILB who easily slides passed him. Schwartz loses leverage and is on his knees while Cameron is getting pushed back into what appears to be the intended lane.
A Missed Opportunity
The Browns come out in 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE and 1 RB with Weeden in shotgun this time.
Weeden drops back and looks to the left side of the field. Granted, this is the side of the field where his progressions start and the play is probably designed to go, but in my opinion misses a big play to Cameron over the top in the seam, electing instead to throw to Little underneath.
Some might think the mini pump fake Weeden gives just before he throws to Little was a good thing, a good sign: "Hey, he pump faked!" But my problem is that he should have pulled the trigger and went for Cameron running up the seam. I am assuming that's where he wanted to go, but then reined in that decision and quickly shot the ball off to Little instead.
Perfect pocket during delivery.
Richardson misses a lane
This is simply a pitch out to Richardson where he tries to keep turning this one outside, eventually, hiding directly behind Cousins ( that's a scary thought ) but then bounces it back inside. Richardson needs to be more decisive and immediately explode through this gaping lane instead of running east-west and hesitating.
The Browns are in 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB with Weeden in the shotgun. The two outside receivers are going to run a mesh route underneath, while the two inside receivers are going to run 10 yard hitch routes. The RB is going to release and is the safety valve out in the flat. The defense appears to be in man to man coverage with a single high safety.
Here you can see 2 defenders are actually sucked into the flat on Richardson. Meanwhile, Bess and Little run the mesh routes perfectly. It looks like Cameron might be open over the middle, but he's not because he runs a curl route. It's hard to know which receiver is the first read here, but the fact remains that Weeden needs to read this play and know where the best option is. He was staring in this area the whole time, but made the wrong choice on where to send the ball.
I also noted that Weeden didn't get his full weight into the pass and lacked complete follow through. He stepped into the pass but then pivots his weight back onto his back foot in anticipation of the hit from the defense. On account of that, he passes it high yet still into the hands of Little who proceeds to drop this pass for an INT.
Notice the amount of space between Bess and his defender here. Also, recall (painfully) that this is the pass that bounces off Little's hands and is intercepted by former Browns defensive back, Dimitri Patterson.
The TD that was only a catch
The Browns line up in 11 Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, Weeden under center. This is a play action pass that you might recall being reviewed by the officials to see if Cameron was touched or if he really scored the TD following an amazing diving catch vs. Brent Grimes. While I don't know if we could (Chud claims he couldn't have) I thought this was worth a challenge unless our booth knew for certain he was touched OR if we couldn't challenge because it was ruled a TD on the field and all scoring plays are reviewed, then OK.
Here's the play action exchange
After the snap, and the play action fake to Richardson, Weeden quickly gets his head turned around to see the field. Problem is that he misses his eventual target Jordan Cameron before the play gets broken up because he was only staring down the left side of the field. Again, perhaps this is part of his intended progression, so I'm not faulting him for it simply pointing it out.
At this point, Weeden's vision causes the safety to step towards the bottom of the screen in anticipation of the throw there. This is good IF he can get back around to his other reads. This means he's affected the defense. Good QB's can do this. They recognize coverage and adjust their reads accordingly. I am not saying Weeden isn't good, rather that this has to get better at this if the Browns want passing success this season. This would have been a great place for the pump fake. If he had the vision and timing to know where Cameron would be and the ball had already been released to Cameron at this point in the play, chances are there was some serious YAC available.
The 3rd INT
The Browns come out here in 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE and 1 RB with Weeden under center.
Weeden has a clean pocket, but after a quick drop back locates Cameron on the dig route underneath. He's open if the ball is thrown in stride and on target and it's probably the least aggressive decision Weeden could have made. I'm not saying these windows are easy throws but the vertical throw in the end zone seems most "open" but never got a look.
Here's a look at the pocket. It's clean and he has time to scan the field and throw. Again, perhaps this was his primary read, and if so then that's fine. But the throw was still off target and behind Cameron. If the throw was ahead of time, in stride, perhaps he can turn the corner on the linebacker.
Good throw and catch, but look what Weeden missed
The Browns come out in 11 personnel, 3 WR, 1 TE and 1 RB with Weeden in shotgun but with Trent Richardson split out at the bottom of the screen.
Quick drop, Weeden looks only at Bess' side of the field and appears to lock into his route, which is right read if that was the design and it was a great pass.
Here's a look at Weeden's pocket. Again, this may be a harsh criticism, or I might be told that I have no idea where the play is designed to go, but I feel as though I am simply pointing out the match-ups that were not exploited. Had Weeden scanned the left side of the field as well, and quickly adjust his feet and body, I feel he could have delivered a strike to Benjamin along the side lines.
TD pass to Cameron
The Browns line up in the 11 personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB with Weeden in the shotgun.
Weeden drops back and delivers a perfect pass to Cameron, above the defense, on target and in the perfect window where only Cameron can make the play. This was an excellent play call and execution by Weeden and the offense.
Again, here you can see just how perfectly placed the ball is to Cameron as well as the pocket that Weeden was given to throw from. Clean, spacious, and breezy.
The heat is on. . .
Again, the Browns come out in 11 personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, and 1 RB with Weeden in shotgun.
At this point in the play, you can see that Cousins in being pushed back in the pocket and that Schwartz has been beaten by Wake already and has his sights on the QB.
This slide and the next slide are at the exact same point in time. Each are captured 2.5 seconds following the snap.
And there's really nowhere for Weeden to deliver the ball. The NT has his arms up blocking the center of the field and Weeden feels and probably sees Wake beating his right tackle and knows the heat is on.
Sacked just prior to the 3 second mark by Wake.
Weeden dumps off to Richardson underneath for 18 yards
Here you can see Greg Little is somewhat open along the sideline. However, the issue is that the OL needed to give Weeden more time here. He chose to dump this pass off because he saw the safety over the top and because he saw the spin move being put on Cousins in front of his face and felt the pressure from the guys who beat Mack and Thomas on his backside.
Boom. Weeden is hit immediately as he throws the ball by both the guys who beat their aforementioned Browns lineman. We have to do a better job giving him a pocket but give credit to Weeden for sticking in there on this play, and many others.
Good accuracy and timing
Great timing, read and accurate throw, allowing Benjamin to turn up the field and run after the catch.
Here's Weeden's pocket. . . it's already starting to collapse but he's standing in there like an NFL QB and delivering the ball on target.
Late read / Non-read -- Richardson drops pass in double coverage
The Browns come out in 12 personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE and 1 RB with Weeden under center.
At the bottom of Weeden's drop, you can see him looking down the left side and middle of the field. Again, this most likely his first read on the play. But you can see he clearly has a pocket and space, yet doesn't appear to see a wide open Greg Little streaking toward the first down marker out of his break. The defense appears to be in a zone coverage here.
Weeden sets and delivers the ball to Richardson who drops the pass as he is hit by both defenders at the same time the ball arrives. Notice Little is wide open outside and that Weeden still has a clean pocket.
"The heat is on"
Richardson misses a key block, but Weeden stands in and makes throw
The Browns are in 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE and 1 RB with Weeden in shotgun.
Richardson comes across the formation at the snap to help Alex Mack, but leaves the B gap wide open. Perhaps this is because Norv wanted help on the right side of the line and an extra body on Wake, but the LB has a clear path to Weeden and Richardson is out of position.
Here you can see Richardson is struggling to get back to the gap, meanwhile, the right side of the line is actually holding up just fine.
Ouch, that's a huge hit on your QB. Not that this matters ( it's part of the game ) but Richardson then turns around and runs after the ball and doesn't help Weeden up. I hope he at least said "my bad".
Late throw --- Benjamin misses probable TD catch
The Browns come out in 12 personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE, and 1 RB with Weeden in shotgun. You'll also notice that this route is a triple move for Benjamin.
Hard to see here, but the DB has his back to Benjamin at this point and has been turned around. This is the exact point in time of Benjamin's final move in his route. The DB is actually facing the sideline and will need to flip around again to regain straight line speed, balance and proximity to the speedy Benjamin. For Weeden, the ball should be out of his hands at this point but it's not. Also notice had the ball been out of Weeden's hand already that the safety also has his back to Benjamin because he is looking at Cameron over the middle.
As displayed here, Weeden finally has a great pocket and some time in the 4th quarter, but he needs to make this throw earlier. The late throw allows the safety back in the play. If he throws it on time and not late, then Benjamin doesn't have to deal with the safety diving to break up the pass; most likely catches an uncontested ball; is able to turn up field and is gone for a TD. Regardless, Benjamin has to make this catch unless it was tipped and I missed that on the play.
You can see the seam had Benjamin caught this ball. . . off to the races.
Let's get vertical - Missed deep threat
The Browns come out in 12 Personnel: 2 WR, 2 TE, and 1 RB with Weeden in shotgun.
Here you can see a clean pocket for Weeden. Again, perhaps his primary read is the TE in the flat. Also, it may not be an easy throw but with a quick and accurate release here, Weeden could have found Cameron over the middle for potentially big YAC play.
As it stands, he stays with his reads and targets the TE in the flat.
Here's Weeden's pocket. Credit the OL for a good job giving him some space and time again in the 4th quarter.
4th quarter and it's 4th down but Ogbonnaya is tasked with blocking Cameron Wake?
As you can see, the Dolphins overloaded their right side, the strong side. This seems to have created some issues for the Browns up front. You can also see Wake lined up in the 9 tech, outside the TE. Either the Browns line couldn't figure out their assignments due to overload, or the call to send Ogbonnaya out to block Cameron Wake was a bad play call. Either way, it resulted in a 4th quarter, 4th down, sack.