Cleveland Browns: Spread offenses hurt offensive linemen, too
By Joel W. Cade
The Cleveland Browns coaching staff has work to do to get offensive linemen Shon Coleman and Spencer Drango up to speed for the NFL game.
The Cleveland Browns selected offensive linemen Shon Coleman and Spencer Drango in the 2016 NFL Draft, both of whom from spread offenses.
The impact of the spread offense on the NFL has been enormous as players coming into the professional ranks from a spread system are unprepared to play in a professional offense. This is the most apparent at quarterback, but it also impacts offensive linemen.
The ill effects of the spread are lamented every year come the NFL Draft as teams searching for a quarterback, like the Browns seem to be doing continuously, evaluate all the top prospects at the position. One of the major factors either for or against a player is the type of offense they played in at college.
Why? A quarterback coming out of the spread offense is less prepared to play in the NFL than one who played in a pro-style offense where he learned basic passing concepts, protections and how to call a play in the huddle. Because some spread offenses have a coach calling the play and protection from the sideline, rather than the quarterback doing it in a huddle, the spread quarterback is at a disadvantage entering the NFL.
An example of this is Robert Griffin III, who came out of the Baylor’s air raid offense, which is the least structured type of spread offense.
Griffin was successful in Washington his first season, in part, because Kyle Shanahan adapted the offense to help Griffin succeed. When forced to master the nuances of a pro-style offense, Griffin lost the starter’s job to Kirk Cousins (who came from a pro-style offense at Michigan State).
Hopefully a change of scenery, new coaches and a new sense of humility can help Griffin learn to play in a pro-style offense. If not, he will be another example of a spread quarterback unable to make the jump to the NFL.
Next: Impact on wide receivers