The Cleveland Browns offense has been conservative until late in the game, and their performances in the fourth quarter should have Tyrod Taylor taking more chances the entire game.
One of the biggest gripes about the first two games of the Cleveland Browns 2018 season has been how conservative the offense has been.
With Tyrod Taylor at the helm, the offense seems to lack a lot of creativity. One big part of that is how it seems that Taylor refuses to push the ball downfield.
The only time that Taylor seems to want to take some chances downfield is when the Browns are losing late and need some big plays to have a chance of winning.
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That philosophy has resulted in two big touchdowns for the Browns – Josh Gordon’s game-tying touchdown against the Steelers Week 1, and Antonio Callaway’s go-ahead touchdown against the Saints, but Callaway’s touchdown only resulted in the Browns tying the game due to Zane Gonzalez’s struggles.
However, this same philosophy has caused Taylor to throw two bad interceptions. Despite the big play opportunities that Taylor pushing the ball downfield creates, both of those interceptions were bad throws by Taylor.
But if the Browns want an offense that puts points on the board, they are going to need to take the chances they take in the fourth quarter throughout the entire game.
In the first two games of the season, the Browns offense has consisted of a mediocre run game and a passing offense that resembles a dink-and-dunk offense.
With what the Browns have been doing, it has been extremely hard for the them to get ahead of the chains. The offense has seen a lot of 3rd and 6 or longer scenarios. As a result, the Browns have only converted on 30 percent of their third downs this season, which is one of worst percentages in the league.
The Browns seem keen on establishing the run, and then using a strong run game to open play-action opportunities for the passing offense. But since the Browns have not threatened a vertical passing game the first two weeks of the season, defenses are putting more players in the box to stop the run.
If Taylor and the Browns were to take more downfield shots throughout the entire course of a game, it could help get the run game going. And Callaway showed Sunday that his speed translates into him being a legitimate downfield threat.
This does not mean Taylor needs to be chucking 50-yard passes downfield every other pass. But he needs to start making throws to the intermediate parts of the field to help stretch the defense out. Browns fans have seen enough of screen passes and passes to the flat already this season.
Pushing the ball downfield is not Taylor’s forte, but it could help the offense create more opportunities for points. With Todd Haley’s background as a play-caller, it is a surprise he has not tried to have the passing game become more vertical.
Something that the Browns offense needs to do better overall is playing with more urgency. Although they want to control the ball, their lack of a passing game has hindered the entire offense. Taylor pushing the ball downfield like he has in the fourth quarter of the first two games for an entire game would really help the Browns offense get going.