Browns Vs. Ravens: 5 Reasons For Optimism

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Sep 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Terrance West (28) rushes into the end zone for a touchdown during the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Balance

The Cleveland Browns have shown a great deal of offensive balance this season under Kyle Shanahan. Though they have a bunch of smaller receivers they have still thrown the ball with regularity. This has been allowed because of their solid run game draws defenders in allowing Brian Hoyer to make quick decisions and get the ball out of his hand. One of the under discussed positives of Hoyer is his ball handling ability. In the play action game this has been a huge asset to get defenders to think a run play is coming.

With Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell, the “Baby Backs”, running well in their first two games, the Browns have a threat on any play. They are not afraid to run against 8 man fronts on first down or on 3rd and medium or long. That means defenders always have to be aware of what is going on in the backfield. West and Crowell have been quick in and to the hole, something Trent Richardson still hasn’t figured out, and powerful when they meet defenders. Both always seem to fall forward and turn 1 yard gains into 3 or 4 yard gains. That is huge for a ball control offense.

On the outside the Browns receivers, through Shanahan’s system, have found ways to get open. Receivers are breaking off clean routes and are ready when the football is delivered. With Hoyer that has been on time more often than not. It is one reason that the Browns focused on smaller receivers; their ability to get in and out of routes quickly. This makes sure that Hoyer is confident his receivers are where he expects them to be.

Having offensive balance against a team that wants to try to dominate with their defense means that the Browns can stay in charge on offense. They are far less likely to have to adjust their plays to what the Ravens are doing. Hoyer will stay make adjustments when needed, but the offense is setup to combat anything the Ravens might through at them.