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Browns New Offense: Five Key Terms

The Browns brought in Coach Flip to replace Shanny after one season. Some things will change in the new offense, some will be the same. Here are some important terms.

The Cleveland Browns have a new offensive system with John DeFilippo replacing Kyle Shanahan as the team's offensive coordinator. Much like their defense, we can either talk about the players in generic terms (i.e. nose tackle) or the more accurate terms that teams use (i.e. 0-Technique). Similarly, the defense that Mike Pettine runs is more accurately a 4-3 Under defense, though most will define as a 3-4 throughout the year. Neither is wrong but the latter is more accurate.

A very basic description of the Browns new offense is that Coach Flip is going to run a Zone Blocking Scheme combined with a West Coast Offense passing game. This will help some continuity in the run game but a little bit different in the air for the team. While those terms are accurate, we want to give you a little more accuracy within Coach Flip's system.

Y Tight Ends - You will hear us talk about two types of tight ends in the Flip system. The first is the Y tight end. The Y is the team's blocking tight end. This will also be called the "in-line" tight end. While all of our tight ends can be called the generic TE label, Gary Barnidge and Jim Dray would be the team's Y, or in-line, tight ends.

F Tight Ends - This is the pass catcher of the tight end group. You will also hear us talk about the "move" tight end, another piece of language that you will likely hear from the Browns. The F tight end is bound to excel in Flip's system. The hope is that Rob Housler will have a great season in this role. Terrelle Pryor , while being talked about as a wide receiver, could also be used ins this role. The F is also going to take the place of a true fullback most of the time in Flip's offense.

Downhill Running - As we learned last year, the ZBS system is all about blocking in gaps, opening up lanes for running backs to put their foot in the ground and get down hill. Coach Flip is going to continue to use this blocking but will add Downhill Running plays. Another definition is man blocking. An offensive lineman is responsible for blocking his man instead of a gap. This will also be called "power running."

Receiver Position: These next two are not unique to Flip's system but are important none the less. Often fans breakdown receivers in one of two ways. Either they label them based on their production, or expectation of production, as #1, 2 and 3 receivers. Those numbers generally are not accurate as the #1 WR on a certain play is the primary target (i.e. on a RB screen the RB is actually #1 receiver). The other way that fans describe them as "inside" or "outside" receivers. This has more accuracy but many times fans limit this to the size of receiver (i.e. Taylor Gabriel is small so he is an inside or slot receiver, which was not accurate last year.) 

X Receiver - The X is on the opposite side of the field as the tight end. He cannot go in motion, unless another motion man takes his spot as the X reciever on the line. The X needs to be able to get off press coverage and make plays in tight spaces. This position is also called "split end." Any of the Browns receivers could, and likely will, play this role, but Dwayne Bowe fits this role pretty well.

Y Receiver - The Y is off the line, generally on the same side as the tight end. He can go in motion but is not the "slot" receiver. The Y generally is a combination of the X and a slot guy. Enough size to make plays outside but enough speed and quickness to get open on breaking routes. Reggie Wayne and Rod Smith were historically great in this role. Brian Hartline is the front runner for this spot but Travis Benjamin and even Pryor could fit this role well also.


Dixie Right - The final one was an interesting one for me so I thought I'd share it here. Dawgs By Nature captured this from an ESPN interview with Flip and it caught us as very inside, technical language that we wanted to share. When you see a bunch formation of receivers (could be RBs and TEs in the group as well) we now know that Dixie Right was a part of the play call. In Oakland Flip used Dos Right but for the Browns the language will be Dixie Right. Just a little inside info from our new Offensive Coordinator.

Hope that this little Key Terms cheat sheet comes in handy talking to your co-workers or listening to Pettine or DeFilippo talk about the Browns new offense this year.

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