Overachieving Browns So Far
We covered some of the Cleveland Browns who have underachieved so far this season. Now, as we prepare for a huge game against the Titans, we will take a look at those who we think have overachieved. We will look at specific units that have overachieved but specific players among that unit will be singled out. It is important to note that expectations coming into the season helps define who is overachieving. If you expected Brian Hoyer to be Tom Brady than you are likely disappointed, though this season so far that could be a close competition.
Both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel were disappointing during the Pre-Season so likely you had very low expectations. One area that they have overachieved is how they have handled everything. A lot of credit must go to the coaching staff. The expectations have been clearly outlined which has allowed each QB to accept their role.
On the field Hoyer has looked clean and crisp. He has missed some throws and struggled in closing two of the games but overall has been good. He may not dominate a game but his quick throws, ball handling and decision-making have helped put the Browns in a position to win. His deep ball has even looked far better than expected.
Manziel for his part has stayed quiet off the field, as he promised would happen when the season started, and has embraced his role as a learner. Right now the Browns are using Manziel to set tendencies. If the game plan calls for a run at a certain spot, putting Manziel in for the play helps set what opposing teams expect with Manziel. Down the road a Zone Read Pass with Manziel could break that tendency and lead to a big play for the Browns.
This unit really is all about Andrew Hawkins. While Miles Austin, Travis Benjamin and Taylor Gabriel have made some plays, it is Hawkins who has made the unit. To be fair this writer expected huge things from Hawkins once Gordon was suspended. Hawk does great as a 2nd or 3rd target. His amazing release moves means he must be hit as soon as he comes out of his breaks. With the Bengals, and possibly when Gordon returns, Hawk was a 4th target and by the time Andy Dalton got to him he was often covered back up.
Many expected the Browns to be dedicated to the run game but not to have the success they have had. Different regimes have shown a dedication to running the football but have failed time and again. This group made it clear by hiring Kyle Shanahan and spending some money on Ben Tate. They continued that focus with a second round pick on an offensive linemen and adding Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell as rookies as well.
Tate has been injured, but could return this week, while the two rookie backs have given a spark to Browns fans. West is an all around back that sometimes dances a bit much while Crowell is a straight forward hard-hitting back with speed. The comparison of Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack has not yet been reached but they do not seem far off.
With the return of Tate the Browns will have to figure out how to get the three of them enough touches to help get them into rhythm. At this point Crowell seems to have passed West on the depth chart unofficially. Tate’s overall ability may mean he still gets the bulk of the carries but with his injury history having West and Crowell is necessary. Tate’s return also could add the screen game back for the team.
Who has overachieved to you on the Browns?