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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Cleveland Browns: 2014 Final Report Card

The 2014 season for the Cleveland Browns is over.  It wasn't a completely bad year for the city of Cleveland, Lebron is back!  And for a few games the Browns even looked like they could be playoff bound.  

But what did they grade out for the season? 

Coaches C-

The only reason they didn't fail is because offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterback coach Dowell Loggins decided to leave.  Having had enough of the Johnny Manziel experience they earned a B+ for being brave enough to say ENOUGH.

Head coach Mike Pettine brought the grade down with his performance of a D+. 

Let's review.  You had your team heading for the playoff.  The quarterback that has steered the team has a rough patch.  So you decide to go with one Johnny "Football" Manziel.  A player who admittedly needs to get serious about playing in the NFL.  Good sentiment, probably should have thought of that when he was drafted not in the middle of the season.  Or how about the Manziel that missed his treatment because of a party?  You saw a chance for your team to win in that?  No, I'm asking?

Whether it was Pettine's idea or he was convinced from a higher authority, the end result is the same.  Bad decision.  It appeared as if the coach was giving up on the team when there was still hope.  Oh yeah, a solid D-.

Offense D

It was a tale of two seasons in one season. 

In the end the Browns finished the season 7-9.  They ranked 27th in points, averaging 18.7 points a game.  They were 20th in passing yards with 216.6 average per game.  And 17th in rushing yards averaging 108. yards per game. 

Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer passed or 3326 yards.  He had 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.  He finished the year with a 76.5 passer rating.

Manziel finished the season with 175 passing yards.  He had 0 touchdowns and two interceptions.  He finished the season with a 42.0 passer rating. 

The leading rusher statistically was Terrance West.  He finished the year with 673 rushing yards.  West averaged 3.9 yards per  rush.  He had four touchdowns.  He was followed closely by upstart Isaiah Crowell.  Crowell finished the year with 607 rushing yards.  He averaged 4.1 yards per rush.  Crowell finished the season with eight touchdowns. 

The wide receivers were of little help to the offense.  Andrew Hawkins led with 63 receptions for 824 yards.  He finished the season with two touchdowns.

While Josh Gordon spent the better part of the season suspended, when he returned he was less than advertised.  Gordon seemingly gave up on routes.  He had 24 receptions for 303 yards.  And he finished the final game of the season once again on the bench.  He was reportedly suspended for missing a team meeting after a night of partying. 

And then there was the offensive line. The offensive line allowed their quarterbacks to be sacked 31 times. 

The offense was the Achilles' heel of the Browns.  It was an offense mangaged early by quarterback Hoyer.  Hoyer eventually lost his way.  As he went so did the Browns. 

Defense C+

There were times the defense were scary good.  And then there were times they were just scary.  They ended the season with respectable stats. 

The defense allowed 21.1 points per game.  That was best for ninth in the league.  They allowed 224.5 passing yards per game, which ranked them eighth in the league.  But for rushing yards allowed they ranked 32nd allowing an average of 141.6 rushing yards per game. 

They sacked opposing quarterbacks 31 times.  They were led by linebacker Paul Kruger who amassed 11 sacks for the season.  No other player had double digit sack numbers. 

Donte Whitner led the team in tackles with 106 combined tackles.

Shutdown corner Joe Haden handled his business.  He finished the season with 73 total tackles.  He collected three interceptions.  That's what happens when teams are reluctant to throw on your side of the field. 

But how do you reconcile a defense that held a Cincinnati Bengals team to 3 points in week 10.  In that week the defense held Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to 86 yards.  They sacked him twice while recording three interceptions. 

And then five weeks later they allow the same team to put up 30 points on them.  In that game Dalton passed for 117 yards.  While running back Jeremy Hill rushed for 148 yards with two touchdowns.  In week 10, Hill was held to 55 yards. 

Consistency was not a mantra for the Browns this season.  From early on it appeared the team existed in a world not known to others. 

From the draft, heavy in wide receivers, all of whom the Browns passed.   Passed even though they knew their leading receiver would be suspended for most of the season.  To the Manziel experiment at season's end. 

There were flashes of good.  And patterns of bad.

Overall, the Browns grade out a C- for the 2014 season. 

Follow me on Twitter @neverenoughglt


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