The Cleveland Browns offense has been disappointing to start the 2019 season, but that should change when the team returns from the bye week.
Cleveland Browns head coach and offensive play-caller Freddie Kitchens has been unable to find the magic from the second half of last season that helped him earn the head coaching job. The offense has had its moments, but overall it has struggled to make plays during the 2019 season.
The Browns have the 19th most yards per game in the NFL with 351.2 yards and ranks as the 21st scoring offense, averaging 20 points per game. Cleveland also leads the NFL with 11 interceptions.
Kitchens’ struggles to game plan his offense has carried over to Baker Mayfield as the second-year quarterback has struggled mightily. He has dealt with accuracy issues, some poor decision-making at times, and is not navigating the pocket as well as he did last season. The struggles in the passing game has also made Odell Beckham Jr. less impactful than expected.
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But as the Browns got closer to their bye week, they started showing the offense that helped them have a 5-3 finish to last season. They started using a quicker passing attack, using RPO’s, as well as relying on Nick Chubb and the run game. They just have not done it consistently and for a full 60 minutes.
However, that should change after the Browns take a week off during their bye week. With two weeks until their next game, the Browns offensive coaching staff had time to adjust their playbook to fit what fits their team. They can eliminate the concepts that have caused problems for the offense, and instead replace it with concepts the offense has made plays with.
After Kitchens took over the offense last season, the team turned a corner after the bye week. In their first game after their bye week, the Browns offense had 427 total yards and 28 points in a victory over the Atlanta Falcons. The offense showed balance and was making plays using concepts they were comfortable with.
The biggest answer to the Browns offensive struggles this season will be to eliminate the reliance on taking shots. When Mayfield has been forced to sit in the pocket, he has had problems finding receivers, causing him to hold onto the ball too long. But when the Browns have gotten the ball out of Mayfield’s hands quickly, the offense gets moving down the field.
Also, Cleveland needs to be more reliant on giving Chubb the football early on. He has shown an ability to gain chunks of yardage and can set the tone for the entire offense. However, if he does not get the ball early, it almost sets the offense behind.
Now that the Browns know what concepts work for their offense, they can re-tailor their playbook and game plans to help put the offense in better positions. It may not work against the New England Patriots defense, who the Browns will play in their first game out of their bye week.
New England has been the best defense since the start of the season, so the Browns will be facing a big challenge immediately. But after the Patriots game, the effect of the bye week on the Browns offense should become noticeable.