SOBO's Musings on Interesting Cleveland Browns Stats

As the Browns prep to start Week 6, Sobo is back with his Musings, this week focused on some interesting numbers.

Musings: Fun with Numbers

For many, the Cleveland Browns’ 0-5 record is all that matters. As Bill Parcells famously stated, “You are what your record says you are.”

The Browns are the league’s worst team. But they’re not the worst team in every statistical category. In fact, the team and some of its individuals are better in certain areas than expected.

Statistics never tell the entire story, but they can be studied to better understand a team’s performance. Below are a handful of statistics of not as the Browns prepared for another contest:

  • 7.9 yards per attempt – Much has been made of Cody Kessler’s arm strength or lack thereof. This concept will draw a variety of arguments about what arm strength actually entails. However, his yards per attempt last season at USC was exactly the same as Carson Wentz’s. In fact, Kessler number dropped slightly as a senior after averaging over eight yards per attempt during the previous two seasons. Does this mean Kessler has as strong of an arm as Wentz? Of course not. But the statistic shows how a quarterback can still be effective relying on accuracy and timing when getting the ball to his targets.


  • 613 rushing yards – Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL with 546 rushing yards. This year’s fourth overall pick has been impressive while carrying his team to a 4-1 record. Meanwhile, the Browns’ Isaiah Crowell fell to fifth in rushing yardage after a tough performance against the New England Patriots. However, Crowell carried the ball 35 fewer times than Elliott through five games. If the Browns relied as heavily on their starting running back as the Cowboys have, Crowell would lead the league with 613 rushing yards based on his current averages. The Browns back is putting together a monster season even if he’s not recognized for his play.


  • 10 rushes over 10 yards to the right side – With Austin Pasztor at right tackle, there is a give-and-take with his play. He’s clearly not the most athletic lineman, but he’s the team’s best drive blocker. This is seen in how successful the team has been when running to his side. The Browns lead the league in rushes of over 10 yards to the right. With Greco moving back to right guard, the strong side will only improve since the veteran has been an exceptional run blocker at points this season. Although, the unit won’t benefit from Joel Bitonio’s ability to pull on counters and powers due to his injury.


  • Five sacks – While Pasztor’s future at offense tackle remains in question, he’s surrendered fewer sacks than the man he replaced, Mitchell Schwartz. The Kansas City Chiefs right tackle is tied for a league high with five sacks surrendered. The primary difference between the two is the fact Schwartz has been beat clean more times yet he’s surrendered fewer pressures. All of Schwartz’s sacks came during the first two weeks, but he’s since settled into his new situation. To his credit, Pasztor also steadily improved in his pass protection through the first five weeks.


  • One target –Terrelle Pryor is being lauded as a potential No. 1 target due to his size and potential. In reality, he’s a replacement for Travis Benjamin. One target is all that separates these two this season with Benjamin being targeted 45 times by San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Pryor 44 times by Browns quarterbacks. In fact, their stats are eerily similar with Benjamin averaging only 0.9 yard more per game. Both are slightly ahead of Rabbit’s production from last season. Browns quarterbacks targeted Benjamin 39 times through five games. When Corey Coleman returns, he should be viewed as the wide receiver on the roster who is ready to develop into a top target.


  • 3.9 yards per attempt – Despite the Browns’ defensive struggles, the group is actually much-improved against the run. The defense is currently ranked 12th in yards per carry. This invoked an important question: When was the last time Cleveland surrendered less than four yards per carry? Surprisingly, it didn’t happen as long ago as many assume. In 2013 under the direction of defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, the Browns gave up 3.9 yards per carry. It’s the only time since the organization’s return in 1999 that opposing offenses averaged less than 4.0 yards per attempt.


  • Four defended pass – Just how poor has the Browns’ safety play been this season? The three safeties to see the field this season—Jordan Poyer, Derrick Kindred and Ibraheim Campbell—have combined to defend four passes. This wouldn’t place them in the league’s top-20 performers if all three morphed into one defender. Multiple safeties and linebackers around the league have individually made as many or more plays. Ball skills are certainly lacking in Cleveland’s secondary.  

  • 633 career pass attempts – This 2017 quarterback class doesn’t look promising. None of the young signal-callers have stepped up to claim the top spot as an elite prospect. North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky is the most intriguing. However, the junior is in his first year as a starter and will finish his collegiate career—if he decides to declare—with a maximum of 14 career starts. However, he’s on pace to attempt 633 career passes. During this year’s draft process, many questioned Wentz’s experience as a passer in a limited amount of starts. He only attempted 612 career passes at North Dakota State. The No. 2 overall pick’s lack of attempts haven’t had any effect on his transition to the professional ranks. Trubisky can follow a similar path since he’s in the best position to establish himself as the top quarterback prospect for the 2017 draft despite his limited experience.


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