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PFF looks at Browns’ pass-blocking efficiency from 2017, and what needs to change in 2018

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The Browns were tied for the 19th-best pass blocking efficiency as an offensive line last year, and have work to do for 2018.

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NFL: Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

This past week, Pro Football Focus went back and compared how all 32 teams in the NFL ranked in 2017 in pass-blocking efficiency, while also projecting how things will change given changes heading into the 2018 season.

Last year, the Browns were in a three-way tie for the 19th-best pass blocking efficiency with a grade of 77.9. It’s a number that took a hit after the injury to left tackle Joe Thomas, which remains probably the biggest need the team is trying to figure out this training camp after he retired:

Despite investing heavily in their offensive line prior to the season, the Browns still struggled in pass protection and allowed the sixth-most total pressures (191) on their league-leading 679 passing plays. JC Tretter played well at center, allowing just 25 pressures all season, while incumbent left guard Joel Bitonio allowed just 24 pressures. Before his injury, left tackle Joe Thomas played up to his usual, exceptional standard, as he did not allow a sack on 300 pass-block snaps. After Thomas’ injury, pass protection became a liability on the edges. As we head into the 2018 season, the main question for the Browns will be, who, if anyone, can step into Joe Thomas’ Canton-bound shoes?

Center J.C. Tretter was named the Browns’ best individual pass blocker with a grade of 97.2, only allowing 25 pressures on the season (LG Joel Bitonio couldn’t have been far behind, as he allowed 24 pressures).

The Browns added RT Chris Hubbard this offseason; he came over from a Steelers line that graded 7th in the NFL last year in PBE.