Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sayonara to bad offense

There is no question whatsoever that the weakest side of the football for the Browns the last two seasons has been the offense.

There is no argument, rational or otherwise, that can refute that claim. It is chiseled solidly in National Football League history. A 1-31 record is a mute and accurate testimony to that fact.

That’s why the recruitment and subsequent signing of Todd Haley as the club’s new offensive coordinator is easily and unquestionably the most important addition to the team this season.

This team has been on life support on offense under the guidance of head coach Hue Jackson the last two seasons. In that short period of time, the Browns provided some of the most inept and stupefyingly bad football when in possession of it.

The offense owned the football for just 28 minutes a game in the last two campaigns. In last season’s winless journey through the schedule, that offense produced a meager 26 touchdowns, two fewer than 2016, and 227 of the league-worst 234 points.

Wait. It gets worse.

That offense scored 20 or more points in a game only four times last season and 10 or fewer points seven times. That’s almost half the games for the fabled Jackson offense.

In seven games in front of the home folks last season (not counting the loss to Minnesota in London), the Browns managed to score a measly and embarrassing 86 points.

Every week for 16 weeks last season, it was like Groundhog Day for the Cleveland offense. It was the same thing over and over and over with the same results. Jackson wore the same bewildered look on his face on weekly basis as his offense struggled.

He had no clue as to why the mistakes and losses piled up even though the answer was plainly evident. He tried to force-feed his stretch-the-field scheme to a group of players incapable of executing it effectively. It was a misfit from the start.

That will change this season and Jackson, thankfully, will not be a part of that change although Haley, whose offensive philosophy differs from his new boss, said he would work in concert with Jackson and incorporate some of his offense.

He said as much during his first news conference with the Cleveland media Wednesday. I don’t believe that will happen.

Haley’s coaching style and philosophy are the opposite of the stubborn Jackson. He is much more flexible. Something he said during the news conference supports that contention.

“I’m not a system guy, so to speak,” he said. “What I believe in is playing to every player’s strength that you have as best you can. Putting players in position to succeed, playing to their skill set.”

How refreshing. Catering to the individual talents of the players he coaches. Actually giving them a chance to be successful.

In other words, the exact opposite of Jackson. And that is why the Browns’ offense you see next season and hopefully many seasons after that will look nothing like it has the last two laborious (for the fans) seasons.

Haley also pointed out something that has resonated throughout this franchise the last two seasons, but has not been adhered to – the running game.

“In this division,” he said, “you better be able to run the ball at some point in games when they know you’re going to run it, whether it’s running out the clock when you have a three-point lead or having to run it because the weather’s bad and it’s snowing sideways or whatever your variables are.”

Jackson promised his offense would place more emphasis on the ground game the last two seasons. He broke that promise almost on a weekly basis, calling pass plays nearly two-thirds of the time.

That’s about to change.

“I told all the coaches when we sat down and met for the first time that our job is to take the players we have and put them in the best possible chance to succeed and not worry about a lot else,” Haley said. “That’s really what the focus is and will be.”      

In other words, Browns fans can look forward to a much more diverse – and less predictable and stodgy – offense this season. With the upcoming free-agent season and college draft, there should be plenty of new faces on that side of the football.

General Manager John Dorsey is most likely in the throes of the planning stages for his housecleaning and it would be surprising if his top priority isn’t fixing an offense badly in need of repair.

And when he is done reshaping and upgrading that offense, his head coach no longer will be able to blame everyone but himself, as he has done the last two seasons, for whatever failures lie ahead.


  1. You're greatly underestimating Jackson's abilities as a manipulative under-the-bus thrower. Why does everybody overlook the fact that the moron who guided us to 1-31 is still in charge of this train wreck. For the last two years the emperor had no clothes and now that they have dressed him up in a fancy new outfit(coaching staff) do you really think that changes who he is? He has failed as a QB guru and offensive coordinator/head coach and now you expect great things from him as a head coach?

  2. Hue has been neutered! Haslam has to know he has one of the best FO people in the NFL. Hue tries his antics again, He is gone. Hue used up all of his cards on Sashi, Hue has nothing left, not even excuses.

    1. That, if true, begs the question, "why the hell is he still here?"

  3. He is still here, Bill, because his owner refuses to discard his blinders. Either that or Dorsey isn't working hard enough to convince him he is making a big mistake by retaining him.

    And Manamal is correct. He has run out of excuses and will eventually out himself with his ineptitude.

  4. I Hope/Believe That Haley/Dorsey Will Show Haslam The Unwarranted Faith In This Coach Is Fool's Gold. I Hope.