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Browns’ offensive snap counts, stats, and notes: Week 1

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Damion Ratley sees more snaps than Rashard Higgins due to injuries, and Cleveland opts to go with only one tight end.

Tennessee Titans v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Below, we analyze the snap counts and stats on offense for the Cleveland Browns’ Week 1 game against the Tennessee Titans.

Quarterback

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
QB Baker Mayfield 73 100% 25-of-38 (65.8%) for 285 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT.
  • Baker Mayfield wasn’t the reason the Browns lost on Sunday. He also wasn’t his exceptional self who could propel through the adversity to lead Cleveland to victory. Some of it was the playcalling — last year, much of Mayfield’s success came from the quick passing game. Then, in the right moments, Mayfield would let it rip or extend plays to make magic happen. Instead, on Sunday, we saw a lot of Mayfield dropping back and taking too much time behind terrible protection. It was a recipe for disaster.
  • Last year in October, there was a three-game stretch in which Mayfield was sacked for 5 times each game. However, in the final 7 games last year, he took 3 sacks total. Cleveland needs to figure out how to keep Mayfield comfortable — unless Greg Robinson keeps kicking people in the head, it’s the same line as last year, minus Kevin Zeitler (yes, I know that is a big minus).
  • The 1 touchdown-3 interception game somewhat reminded me of when Mayfield was caught off guard by the Texans’ zone defense last year. This time, the three interceptions all came in the fourth quarter, two of which looked like terribly inaccurate passes, which isn’t something Mayfield is known for.

Running Back

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
RB Nick Chubb 51 70% 17 carries, 75 yards (4.4 YPC). 3 catches, 10 yards (4 targets).
RB Dontrell Hilliard 13 18% 1 carry, 4 yards (4.0 YPC). 1 TD. 1 catch, 14 yards (2 targets).
RB D'Ernest Johnson 9 12% 2 catches, 23 yards (2 targets).
  • I have no complaints about Nick Chubb, who had an average day statistically. The Browns were passing quite a bit at times, but I don’t think it was a sign of abandoning the run. The only gripe I had was a 3rd-and-1 situation in which the Browns passed instead of handing it off. The bigger issue was penalties that kept putting Cleveland well behind the sticks.
  • Dontrell Hilliard seemed like he was a big part of the game plan. He even got the team’s goal line carry and opening-drive touchdown. However, he exited the game due to a concussion evaluation, with D’Ernest Johnson taking his place.

Wide Receiver

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
WR Jarvis Landry 73 100% 4 catches, 67 yards (7 targets). 1 carry, 10 yards.
WR Odell Beckham 73 100% 7 catches, 71 yards (11 targets).
WR Damion Ratley 35 48% 2 catches, 17 yards (2 targets).
WR Rashard Higgins 32 44% 2 catches, 46 yards (3 targets).
  • The positional unit that I have no complaints about is at wide receiver. Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry each played the entire game, and either made contested catches (Landry) or looked like a threat to hit a home run on the catch-and-run on any given play (Beckham). I was perturbed by the offensive pass interference call before the half on Beckham, mostly because the Titans committed a hold, and Beckham more or less shoved the defender off of the hold, and was penalized for it.
  • Rashard Higgins should be a big part of this offense, and he was targeted three times on the first drive. He did play 32 snaps, but then missed the rest of the game to injury, something that I think hurt Mayfield because he has grown to be his security blanket. Damion Ratley was the only other receiver to play and ended up slightly out-snapping Higgins at 48% of the snaps. That isn’t ideal, since Ratley basically missed the entire preseason and hardly played in 2018.

Tight End

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
TE David Njoku 66 90% 4 catches, 37 yards (6 targets).
TE Demetrius Harris 13 18% 0 catches (1 target).
  • This was a disappointing day for the tight ends. David Njoku doesn’t catch passes well over the middle that have some zip to them; the balls need to be either stuck right on him, or thrown higher/softer for him to go up and stab. I guess part of that should be on Mayfield too (i.e. know your personnel’s strengths and weaknesses). Still, Njoku couldn’t pull in two passes that could’ve extended drives.
  • Demetrius Harris dropped the lone pass he was targeted on, which also would’ve been a first down. He also got hurt on the play, but overall, only played 18% of the snaps. That is stunning to me — I thought Cleveland would run a lot of two-tight end sets, and with the pass protection issues the line was having, why wasn’t an extra tight end kept in to help?

Offensive Line

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
OL Joel Bitonio 73 100%
OL JC Tretter 73 100%
OL Eric Kush 73 100%
OL Chris Hubbard 73 100%
OL Justin McCray 46 63%
OL Greg Robinson 23 32%
OL Kendall Lamm 4 5%
  • It’s not good when seven offensive linemen play on opening day. By halftime, the team was down to just five healthy offensive linemen. The devil’s advocate part of my brain was a bit fascinated with what the Browns would have done if one of those linemen would have gotten hurt. Does a tight end play? Does Charley Hughlett come in? Larry Ogunjobi might have been forced to play guard or something.