John DeFilippo's Flexibility Key to Cleveland Browns Offense

As we all expected, the Cleveland Browns have the 9th ranked scoring offense in the NFL. Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo, and his flexibility is key to the team.

You read that correctly, the Cleveland Browns currently had the 9th most points scored in the NFL. (The number is clearly skewed a bit since 6 teams have had a bye week but they have not.)

Prior to the season, the Browns, and their fans, believed the team would win with a great defense and solid run game. The assumption was that the team would only win games that were low scoring. Without a big time wide receiver or tight end (something most fans still are pissed off about), scoring was expected to be tough. 

Instead, the Browns have scored 118 points, more than vaunted offenses such as the Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts. All 5 of those teams were expected to have great offenses and yet have less points than the Browns while playing the same number of games (5).

While Josh McCown is rightfully getting a lot of credit for the team's performance yesterday. While many still have high hopes for Johnny Manziel, McCown has cemented himself as the team's starter. 

John DeFilippo, the Browns new offensive coordinator, should be getting the same heaping of praise today. Mike Pettine's reported first choice last season for the OC position, Kyle Shanahan was the Front Office/Ownership selection, Coach Flip has shown why quickly. While Flip is young, 37 years old, his learning curve has been quick.

The biggest thing we have seen from Flip's offense is flexibility. While Pettine and GM Ray Farmer built the team to win on the ground, Flip hasn't just stuck to the run game. Instead, Flip has learned his personnel and the flow of the game to make the proper adjustments needed to compete. 

Throwing out the New York Jets game when McCown was hurt after leading a great long drive, the Browns have been competitive in every game. They beat the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens while losing by a touchdown or less against the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers. 

Taking the Jets game out of the equation, the Browns have a positive point differential of +7.

Against the Titans, with Manziel at the helm, Flip only threw the ball 15 times while the rushing offense ran for over 110 yards.

The next game, with McCown back in charge, the team struggled to run. Flip in turn threw the ball 49 times, keeping the Browns in the game.

Against the Chargers, a game that was close most of the day, the run game was better with 100 yards. McCown threw 8 times less than the week prior, completing 32 of 41 passes.

Yesterday, with the running game again struggling, Flip had McCown throw the ball 51 times. The Browns only garnered 83 total yards on the ground, 12 of which was on McCown runs.

Not only has Flip been flexible with the run, pass balance but with who is the focus of the pass game. Yesterday, 9 different players caught passes with Gary BarnidgeDuke JohnsonTravis Benjamin and Andrew Hawkins all catching at least 6 passes. That doesn't allow defenses to focus their coverage on any one player.

Flip also uses multiple formations and motions to keep defenses from settling in. Three receivers left with none on the other side. Stacking receivers. Putting backs out wide. Not only do defenses not know which player to focus on but they don't know where those players will be lining up. 

While the Browns have struggled in the redzone this season, the Browns continue to score at a high rate. Last year the Browns only scored 299 points. Five games into the season the Browns have scored ~40% of last year's total. This while dealing with a struggling run game, McCown injury and limited play calling for Manziel.

Coach John DeFilippo deserve a ton of credit for the performance of the Browns offense. His flexibility will be key to sustained success for the team. Now if only we could get Jim O'Neil to make good adjustments.

What are your early thoughts on Coach Flip?


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