No two drops are the same; not all drops are considered drops by different people analyzing the game. In the end, dropped passes are very frustrating for fans to see no matter what variable plays a role. Weather, a ball thrown slightly behind or too high or a great play by a defender still seems to elicit the same response as a simple drop.
Despite ranking very highly in a variety of metrics on offense, including passing offense, the Cleveland Browns have struggled with dropped passes this year. Not only have they struggled with drops but the importance of those drops has also been quite large.
Putting together a little bit of data, the Browns have had the seventh most impact from dropped passes:
The Buccaneers have dropped 23 passes this year, costing them about 54 expected points compared to a world where each pass was caught pic.twitter.com/Zy4aKfpoA7— Anthony Reinhard (@reinhardNFL) November 10, 2022
Reinhard’s data analysis is an interesting way of looking at it using what is expected to be gained from a play to analyze how big of a drop it was. He also uses Pro Football Reference’s drop data, 19 for Cleveland, but Pro Football Focus has the team with just 12.
Both sites have Amari Cooper and Harrison Bryant at the top of their lists. PFR has Cooper with six drops while PFF has him with three. Both sites have Bryant with three.
Top-flight, big-play receivers can often have more drops than others. While it doesn’t excuse Cooper’s, his production has been impressive for the Browns this year. Bryant’s struggles, with just 21 targets, are more concerning for the team especially with David Njoku struggling to return from an ankle injury.
In more than double the targets than Bryant, Njoku has just two drops. For comparison, in just six targets, both sites credit Anthony Schwartz with two drops as well.
Cleveland has had a top-ten offense most of the season but may have pulled out a game or two had dropped passes not impacted them. Unfortunately, the offense has had to be close to perfect to make up for the struggling defense and special teams.
Are you surprised by the team’s drop numbers this year and just how impactful they could have been?