Browns: Jerome Ford's struggles broken down with unbelievable stat

Jerome Ford was far from efficient for the Browns in 2023

Cleveland Browns, Jerome Ford
Cleveland Browns, Jerome Ford / Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports

Run the damn ball. It's become the cry of the Cleveland Browns fan base but those asking for more rushes in 2023 weren't paying attention to how ineffective the run game was by season's end.

When Nick Chubb is healthy, Cleveland's ground game is among the best in the NFL. Without him, it was a mess. Overall, the numbers put up by Jerome Ford seem respectable — 813 yards on 204 carries with an average of 4.0 per attempt. But when broken down, it was a different story.

Our friends at The Dawgs - A Cleveland Browns Podcast did exactly that on Friday. They identified eight "breakaway runs" for Ford which included two 69-yard carries. In all, these eight attempts led to 266 yards. That proved to be a whopping 32.7 percent of his production on just under four percent of his touches.

From there, they removed the long runs which left Ford with just 547 yards on 196 attempts — which is a staggering average of just 2.8 yards per attempt.

There were three other ugly statistics they shared, which explain why head coach Kevin Stefanski abandoned the run as often as he did:

"- 56 stuffed runs (3rd-most in the NFL)
- 34 runs tackled for loss (2nd-most in the NFL)
- 91 yards lost on TFLs (most in the NFL)" — The Dawgs - A Cleveland Browns Podcast

None of this is to say there's no role for Jerome Ford in this offense, and the guys from The Dawgs said as much. They praised him as an "excellent receiving back" and said his ability to break the big play is a positive. However, they believe that he should be restricted to a timeshare role.

Browns must address the running back spot this offseason

We would have to agree that this is the best course of action for Ford and the offense. Cleveland is hopeful Nick Chubb will make a full recovery but they also believe he won't be ready in Week 1. That's why they have to address the position in the offseason.

They could look to the free agency market where players such as Devin Singletary and Alexander Mattison are available. This would help them use their draft picks on other needs, which might be ideal considering they again find themselves without a pick in Round 1.

Then again, they might have their hearts set on a certain back, which would be understandable. This class isn't loaded but there are some intriguing options such as Audric Estimé and Bucky Irving.

Whatever they do, the Browns can't go into 2024 with the same backfield they had for the majority of 2023. If so, there's no way they can win by "running the damn ball."

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