Key No. 2: Hit on your explosives
This Browns offense has been dealt many blows that a lesser team might not have been able to overcome. In the season opener, the Browns lost two-time All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin. Then in the second game of the season, the Browns lost their offense’s engine as well as the heartbeat of the team when Nick Chubb was lost for the season due to a knee injury.
Just when it appeared the Browns offense had turned a corner without Chubb and Conklin, Deshaun Watson was sidelined for over a calendar month with a rotator cuff injury.
So, with all the moving parts, it should come as no surprise that the offense has not been among the league’s most explosive units. Entering this week 10 matchup with the Ravens, the Browns are tied for the 20th in the league with only 13 passes of over 25 yards. Being tied with teams like the Broncos, Jets, and (cough) Buccaneers is not where this offense wants to be.
With Watson back under center this offense needs to become more explosive. In his first game back from injury, Watson was able to hit on two huge chunk plays to Amari Cooper. Both passes, 59 and 49 yards respectively, demonstrated Watson’s ability to hit receivers down the field in stride.
Now the Browns are facing a Ravens team that will load up to stop the run and dare Watson to beat them with his arm. The opportunities will be there for Watson to hit Cooper and Cedric Tillman on chunk plays and alter the Ravens ability to load the box. If the Browns stay stuck in a phone booth offense against this Baltimore defense, it will be a long afternoon and an even longer plane ride back to Cleveland.