As we all search for reasons that the Cleveland Browns season has been unsuccessful, the answer is actually answers. There are lot of reasons from DC Joe Woods' schemes, HC Kevin Stefanski’s play calling, ST coordinator Mike Priefer’s issues with his unit and decisions made by the front office with Deshaun Watson, not valuing the defensive tackle position and many more.
Individual plays stand out including not covering an onside kick, missing a field goal, blown coverages and multiple times letting backup running backs run all over the defense.
There are also little details that are important as well. One of which, something many have noticed throughout the year, is the team’s lack of a screen game this season. Something that had been vital in Stefanski’s first two seasons had dropped off the game plan, it seemed.
A look at the data proves that anecdotal feeling to be right. Cleveland was in the bottom third of teams running screenplays despite being in the top half of success rate when they did so:
Looking how at successful teams are when they run screen passes this year. How do the Seahawks have a 13% success rate when running screens this season? pic.twitter.com/1uuc33Gbpt— Arjun Menon (@arjunmenon100) December 30, 2022
Perhaps the departure of J.C. Tretter and the injury to Nick Harris played a huge role in this area. Tretter was adept at getting out in front of screens and Harris’ best strength was his quickness. While Ethan Pocic has been fine, the bigger center isn’t as quick as the two he replaced.
The loss of Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper, while correct based on their contracts, also took away two stronger blockers who could help in this phase.
No matter what other changes take place for the Browns, getting the screen game up and running more often and more successfully will be vital next season.