Sep 29, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) calls a play in the huddle during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Browns beat the Bengals 17-6. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
If the Cleveland Browns hope to improve on last season’s 7-9 record the team will need an improved performance from its offense.
The 2014 season started out strong, with the Browns running the ball at will and quarterback Brian Hoyer leading the offense to 26.8 points per game through the first five games.
But once center Alex Mack was lost for the season with a leg injury, the running game stalled, the play-action passes stopped working, and Hoyer struggled on a weekly basis, ultimately leading to the historically horrendous seven quarters of football from rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Since the end of the season general manager Ray Farmer has worked to reshape the offense into one that will not have to rely on the quarterback to win. Out is Hoyer and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, along with tight end Jordan Cameron and wide receiver Miles Austin.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Browns lost the equivalent of 2.94 players on offense, based on the number of offensive snaps the departed players were on the field for last season. The bulk of those lost snaps came from just a handful of players, however, with Hoyer leading the way with 934 offensive snaps. He was followed by Austin (544), center Nick McDonald (481) and Cameron (487).
Of that group, Cameron is the only one that the Browns will potentially miss, but that is predicated on Cameron being able to stay on the field, something he was only able to do 10 times last season and just 47 (out of a possible 64 times) in his four seasons in Cleveland.
So while the Browns had some turnover with the offense, they didn’t lose anyone crucial, which means improvement is just around the corner, yes?
Well, not so fast my friends.
Pro Football Focus also examined the offensive depth chart for the Browns, ranking each player in one of seven categories: Elite, High Quality, Good, Average, Below Average, Poor, Not Enough Info, Rookie and Rookie Undrafted Free Agent.
According to their rankings, the Browns’ offense still has a lot of work to do, with only six players earning a rank of Good or better.
Let’s take a look at each position group, see how PFF ranked the players, and determine if the ranking is fair or not.
Next: Offensive Line