One nice surprise on offense for the Cleveland Browns in 2022

Browns, Jacoby Brissett. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, Jacoby Brissett. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2022 season has been a major disappointment for the Cleveland Browns, but there has been one player on offense that has been a very nice surprise. 

Two of the three aspects of football have been a letdown for the Cleveland Browns so far this season. Special Teams is consistently a mess and the defense has been historically bad. The offense has been the only one that has looked promising at times. It is run very efficiently and that makes it exciting to wonder what it will look like once Deshaun Watson comes back from suspension.

The Browns traded for Amari Cooper in the offseason and he was expected to play well in this offense. He has done that, hauling in 42 catches for 585 yards and 5 touchdowns. One of the biggest questions for the offense going into the 2022 season was wide receiver depth.

After Cooper, it was a bunch of young, unproven guys. Anthony Schwartz has been a massive disappointment, David Bell has seen the field but is mostly a non-factor, and Michael Woods II has missed a lot of the season due to injury. Many thought this was the year for Donovan Peoples-Jones to step up and prove himself as a quality No. 2 receiver. Good news for Browns fans, he has 100 percent done that.

Simply put, DPJ catches everything thrown his way. On top of that, he consistently makes very tough catches. There have been so many times this season that he has made a big catch down the field or one to move the chains. It has been pleasant to see him grow into an efficient receiver, especially considering he was drafted in the 6th round.

Thus far, Peoples-Jones has 35 catches for 516 yards. To give some perspective, he had 34 catches for 597 yards in all of the 2021 season. He’s currently on pace for 66 catches for 975 yards, which would be a fantastic statistical season from a No. 2 wideout.

To add to his impressive season, he has six straight games with 50 or more receiving yards. The only downside is he hasn’t caught a touchdown pass yet, but you have to imagine that will change soon. The most exciting part about all of this is that he has put up these numbers with backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett. That begs the question, how will this all look with Deshaun Watson?

There will be a lot of rust for Deshaun Watson to knock off since he hasn’t played in roughly two years. He will need all the help he can get from the weapons around him, and DPJ has proven himself to be vital to that upcoming process.

One exciting thing about the potential of the Watson/Peoples-Jones connection is the ability to stretch the field. Ever since his rookie year, DPJ has shown that he can be a deep ball threat, and in 2022 it has been more of the same. He is averaging 14.7 yards per catch, and in 2021 he averaged 17.6. He could be the guy that Watson hits on a deep post or a play-action pass.

So much of how the roster will look in 2023 depends on how these last six games with Watson go, but one could assume that DPJ has earned his spot on the roster as a wide receiver two. The Browns still may target other weapons in the offseason, but Peoples-Jones should have a significant role regardless. He has put the work in and it shows on the field every single Sunday. If you’re a Browns fan, you should be excited about his growth moving forward.