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Browns new offense could add some throwback wrinkles as this video shows

The option offense was a staple of college teams for decades

USA TODAY Sports Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

What is old is new again?

The Cleveland Browns might be looking to zig as other teams are zagging with their new offense. NFL offenses have seen revolutions over the last few decades and now stand as a passing-first league. The run game has its place still but quarterbacks are the key.

The Browns new offense has provided some mystery and hope for fans. We noted from OTAs some unique formations and plays being used, including the famed option play made famous in college. HC Kevin Stefanski talked about the importance of using Nick Chubb’s skills and Deshaun Watson’s comfort in creating the offense.

Given what we have seen so far in Cleveland’s training camp, it is possible that WR Elijah Moore could end up being the team’s defacto third running back. He’s been involved in the backfield quite often including direct handoffs.

Now we have video, although from a slight distance, of Watson and Moore running the option in Browns training camp:

The run game in the NFL hasn’t used the option as a primary play in a long time. While the Wildcat formations and zone-read plays of the last decade or so take from the foundation of the option, the lack of a pitch player is the key.

In the above video, which is from the angle allowed to media at camp, we can see that Watson and Moore have worked on timing and spacing. Moore keeps his distance away from the quarterback to allow Watson room to make his read and, hopefully, give Moore a chance to have space.

With many Cleveland fans also being Ohio State Buckeyes fans, we have seen the option work to great success at the college level. At the pro level, the field is less wide and defenders are more talented and athletic making the option less successful over the years. The pitch also creates more risk as it could lead to more fumbles than handoffs and “pop” passes (forward pitch mostly to players coming in motion).

It is likely that the Browns will have multiple versions of the option that include Chubb and Moore. The triple option would allow for a potential Chubb run, a pitch to Moore or for Watson to take it himself. This play would likely come out of a pistol formation but, as we see in the video below, does not have to:

Cleveland could add a fourth option off of the triple option, a pass. As long as the offensive line does not block downfield, Watson could fake to Chubb, begin the option process with Moore then back out to toss a pass. Besides the line, the play would look very similar to the option but could lead to a big play.

The Browns may only break out an option play once a game or less, unlike Georgia Tech who has run primarily option plays for years. If done right, the play that used to dominate college football could catch teams off guard and create big plays in the run game for Cleveland.

What do you think about the Browns adding option offense to their team this year? Jump in the comment section below to share your thoughts: