Cleveland Browns: Week 2 offensive line report

(Photo by Rob Carr /Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr /Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns offense struggled against the Baltimore Ravens. How much of the problems should be pinned on the offensive line?

The Cleveland Browns offensive line played like a unit lacking cohesion in Week 1 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. They struggled with defensive line stunts and switches. The running game suffered due to poor blocking by tight ends. Finally, the offensive line needed to create holes in the running game.

Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens saw an improvement in some key areas but struggles in others.

The first thing that stood out after watching the All-22 film from is that the tight ends continue to struggle to block. The main culprits continue to be first-round pick David Njoku and Randall Telfer. Their blocking technique needs improvement.

The coaches could help their cause by placing the tight ends in blocking schemes that give them help. Too often the Browns are primarily running a zone based run scheme which asks tight ends to block players in their area.

Njoku is a rookie and needs to continue blocking to learn. Telfer struggles one-onone against defensive lineman. A little scheming for weak blocking tight ends would help their cause.

A note in favor of the tight ends: Njoku, Devalve and Telfer are excellent in the passing game. But they need to improve in run blocking.

Second, the offensive line figured out the stunts and twists in Week 2. On several occasions the Ravens ran defensive line stunts in an attempt to confuse the Browns offensive line.

These schemes were effective in stopping the run and disrupting the pass in Week 1. However, give credit to offensive line coach Bob Wylie who got the line on the same page and got those stunts and twists under control.

Third, the offensive line created more holes in the running game. In particular, Joel Bitonio and JC Tretter did an excellent job of opening holes in the middle of the opposing defense. Their effort against the Ravens was excellent.

The Browns run game suffers from mediocre play from Isaiah Crowell, poor tight end blocking and the lack of run calls because they are playing from behind due to turnovers.

Week 2 saw some other interesting things occur.

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After Week 1, I stated that the Browns needed to scheme for dominant defensive lineman. The Browns offensive line proved me wrong against the Ravens.

They came out and dominated players one-on-one. Tretter, Bitonio and Kevin Zeitler handled Ravens defensive lineman Brandon Williams with relative ease. Williams was a non-factor in the run and pass game.

The right side of the offensive line struggled. Shon Coleman continues to learn on the job. Zeitler continues to improve working with a new offensive line.

The good news is that both improved their performance from last week. But the Browns need them to step up to become an elite offensive line.

On a final note, the pass protection was fantastic. Was it perfect? No. But the offensive line did an excellent job giving quarterbacks time to scan the field and make throws on time. Coleman continues to struggle but is making improvement. It is not perfect, but the protection is excellent.

Next: Sunday’s game in Indianapolis is a must-win

Against the Ravens, the Browns offensive line began to look like the elite unit the front office paid for.