Browns could not avoid 3rd down last season

Everyone was very aware that the Cleveland Browns offense was going to have some limitations last season. Playing the majority of the season with Jacoby Brissett instead of Deshaun Watson will do that.

As expected, the Browns were one of the more run-heavy offenses last season (fifth-most rushing attempts) and that can lead to longer drives where all four downs are used. Cleveland had the most 4th down attempts (42) and conversions (23) in the NFL last season, but that is not necessarily the focus here. It is the the Browns inability to avoid 3rd down that made things difficult at times last season.

The Browns were ranked 22nd or 11th-worst at avoiding 3rd down in 2022. That is the worst rank of any team in the AFC North and only above two teams who made the playoffs, (Buccaneers and Chargers), but those are the exception and not the rule.

This number does provide some insight in regards to how Cleveland approached their offense with less than optimal quarterback situation. Brissett is capable of managing an offense, but not running it, there is a difference. When Watson returned he did look incredibly rusty and was in an offensive system that was not tailored to his strengths.

The hope is that the new additions to the Browns offense with a full season of Watson can improve in many areas, but specifically avoiding 3rd down. In an ideal world their sixth-most 3rd down attempts from last season gets a lot closer to the fewest (193) than most (257). Being successful on 3rd down is what good teams do and if the Browns want to make a leap next season they must find a way to emulate the best teams in the league and win on 3rd down.

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