Grading the Browns overall strategy against the Panthers in Week 1

Browns, Kevin Stefanski. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, Kevin Stefanski. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Browns, Kareem Hunt. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Grading the Offense

The offensive game plan was obvious from the beginning. Forced to start a backup quarterback, the Browns primarily sought to run the ball while using basic pass concepts off play action. This strategy was extremely effective given the offensive line’s dominance at the line of scrimmage.

A simplified version of the plan would be as follows: put the ball in the hands of playmakers. Don’t ask the backup quarterback to win the game. Only ask him to not lose the game. This is what Jacoby Brissett did. He did not lose the game.

The result was a good day on offense with Nick Chubb rushing for 141 yards with Kareem Hunt gaining 46 yards on the ground as well. Brissett was 18-of-34 for 147 yards. Simple math tells you the Browns got more yards rushing than passing.

Quick Notes:

Wide receiver Anthony Schwartz saw his role reduced. But he was creatively added to the game plan. Utilizing his speed in the running game, the Browns used Schwartz to run reverses as a constraint play designed to take advantage of over-pursuing defensive ends. He played this role well. It seemed to give him confidence. He even broke a tackle. Probably the first of his career.

Donovan Peoples-Jones has secured the wide receiver two position. He also has become a target as a possession receiver for Brissett.

Amari Cooper was as advertised. He made Panthers cornerback Jaycee Horn look silly all game. Cooper was running free almost the entire game. Once quarterback Deshaun Watson returns, the passing game might be dangerous.

Brissett is a backup quarterback. It showed against the Panthers. He was indecisive holding onto the ball too long. His passes were inaccurate. Worst of all, he got chased down from behind by Panther defensive tackle Bravvion Roy.

Roy is listed at 6 feet 1 inch and weighing 330 pounds. It was clear toward the end of the game that the Panthers did not respect Brissett’s ability to run. The Browns will need to address this moving forward.

Grade A The strategy was correct given the circumstances.