The Cleveland Browns had a solid year running the ball in 2016 and they could be even better this fall if they can stay committed to the run.
The Cleveland Browns struggled in several areas in 2016, but one portion of the team that stood out was the running game.
It may not be apparent to casual fans, but when the Browns ran the ball they were successful, finishing second in the NFL with an average of 4.9 yards per carry – the team’s highest total in 50 years.
The only problem was that because of former defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s porous defense, head coach Hue Jackson was unable to commit to the run on a regular basis, instead having to rely on the rocky quarterback play of Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown and Cody Kessler, among others, to carry the day.
Despite all that, running back Isaiah Crowell had the best season of his three-year NFL career, rushing for 952 yards and seven touchdowns. Crowell combined with second-year running back Duke Johnson to give the Browns 2,143 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns.
It should be noted that they did that while playing with one of the league’s worst quarterback situations, and running behind an offensive line that lost starting guards Joel Bitonio and John Greco to injury and had Cameron Erving at center for 15 games.
The quarterback situation is still shaky, but the Browns invested heavily in the offensive line by signing J.C. Tretter and Kevin Zeitler in free agency, and Bitonio is reportedly progressing along with his recovery.
Add it all up and the running game could be primed for a big season, as…
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