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Offensive line data helps explain Browns run/pass decisions

The loss of Nick Chubb and Kevin Stefanski’s play calling are not the only issues

Cleveland Browns v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns are 7-5 but some fans believe they would be 9-3 or 10-2 if HC Kevin Stefanski had just run the football more often. The Browns are tied for the most attempts in the NFL at 390 while still being in the top 10 in passing attempts (8th overall with 435).

A big reason Cleveland’s offense can be high in both categories is the lack of explosive plays but Stefanski’s ability to cobble together long drives out of short plays. It is somewhat surprising that they are top 10 in both attempts while also being tied for the most turnovers in the league.

There are a lot of reasons, both real and pontificated, why the Browns haven’t been successful running the football (just 135.1 yards per game) despite leading the league in carries. Losing RB Nick Chubb and OL Jack Conklin early in the year top the list but inconsistent play at the quarterback position and losing OL Jedrick Wills for the last few weeks play a role as well.

Another overly simplified but important reason is that Cleveland’s offensive line is just much better at pass protecting than run blocking:

Here is a clearer picture of the two offensive line graphs:

Both ESPN and PFF have the Browns well above the average scores as a pass-blocking unit and slightly below average as run-blockers.

With Dorian Thompson-Robinson or Joe Flacco, or both, starting the rest of the year, it may be easy to say that Stefanski’s game plan should be more run-heavy. When the stats say that they are tied for the most rushing attempts and the data says their offensive line is much better as pass protectors, that logic starts to look a little more shaky.


Tied for the most rushing attempts despite an offensive line that is much better as pass protectors, do you think Stefanski should change his approach to run more or should they throw the ball even more often?