October 14, 2017 | Posted in: Cleveland Browns

Shoulda, woulda, coulda … hindsight is 20/20.  All the cliques.  He’s a star.  After 4 starts.  The decision to acquire draft capital instead of the player is haunting the Cleveland Browns.  I promised 1,500 words on why Watson wouldn’t have been This good in Cleveland.  Do I really need to write the words?  Come on, it’s Cleveland … an organization haunted by terrible draft decisions, especially between 2007-2012.  There were some good picks those years but anytime the Browns had extra draft capital (the Mark Sanchez and Julio Jones trades), the picks were atrocious.  The quarterback choices were those years were disastrous.  The wrong choice in 2014 set the organization behind 5 years.

When you hear things eluding to certain people in the front office “wanting the QB” … yeah, there were certain people who wanted the QB at #1 instead of the DE and the QB was the North Carolina guy.  It’s the reason Kiper changed his draft board a couple hours before the actual selection was made having “the QB”, Trubisky, as the first choice.  Watson wasn’t considered a sure fire first rounder by the scouts, many prognosticators had him as a mid second round choice.  His immediate success is certainly entertaining … his energy … and he really did dominate Kansas City in the last 6 minutes of the game down 25.  You think he would have been this good in Cleveland?  Watson is completing 62.1% of his passes.  Do you think he would be completing 62% of his passes in Cleveland?  What’s the passed “dropped” rate differential between Houston and Cleveland in 2017? a time we’re merely collecting data on the season, it’s too early to make decisions based on 20 quarters of football.

Let’s start with sacks allowed over the past 3 seasons (2014,2015,2016) over 16 games and where it ranked among the 32 NFL Teams.

Sacks Allowed Houston

2014 – 26, 6th

2015 – 36, 16th

2016 – 32, 12th

Sacks Allowed Cleveland

2014 – 31, 13th

2015 – 53, 31st

2016 – 66, 32nd

The quarterback gets sacked a lot more in Cleveland than in Houston, 56 times More over the past 3 seasons.  When the quarterback gets sacked, there’s an opportunity for Injury.  Usually lose yards, it counts as a down, it’s just not a good thing when you’re trying to win a football game, something desperately needed in Cleveland.

Yards Per Carry … sacks allowed and YPC are indicators of offensive line Strength.  Yet Yards per Carry weren’t a strong indicator of success in 2016 because Cleveland was 2nd of 32 at 4.90 YPC.  Houston was 19th at 4.10 YPC.  In 2015, 3.7 YPC, ranking 29th, and 2014, 3.9 YPC, 19th of 32.  One might conclude Houston wasn’t very good at running the ball the past 3 seasons.

More often than not, when we run the ball on 1st down, we’d like to see 2nd and 6.  How different is the play calling between 2nd and 6 and 2nd and 7?  I have no clue, I’ve never played football.

Over the same 3 years, let’s look at Total Sacks.  There’s no question they’ve been playing better Defense in Houston the past 3 seasons, especially against the run, than Cleveland, ranking 10th of 32 teams in 2014 and 2015.  In 2016, Houston was 12th against the run,

Team Sacks Houston

2014 – 38, 19th

2015 – 45, 5th

2016 – 31, 24th

Team Sacks Cleveland

2014 – 31, 27th

2015 – 29, 28th

2016 – 26, 31st

28 more sacks for Houston than Cleveland.  Playing 67th percentile defense against the run the past 3 seasons, #1 in total defense, 2016, 3rd in total defense, 2015, puts Watson in a better position to succeed than Cleveland.  Think Houston missed JJ Watt last season?  Interestingly, in 2014 when Houston totaled 38 sacks, Watt had 20.5 sacks on his own.  One person making that kind of an impact, it’s a shame to see injury costing him games.

Almost 600 words deep and i haven’t even mentioned DeAndre Hopkins or Will Fuller.  Ryan Griffin, Bruce Ellington, Braxton Miller, Houston averaging 4.5 YPC this season … half the time it’s 2nd and 5, awesome, half the time it’s 2nd and 6.  Nothing helps your young quarterback more than running the football effectively.  The skill position difference in Houston versus Cleveland

Protecting our QB from sacks, pressure, and disruption … we know it’s going to happen, we want the backfield disruptions at a minimum … and running the football effectively … especially when we had to, up by 9 with under 8 minutes remaining in the game … one might consider these the first principle of a perennial playoff NFL team.

Interestingly, Houston is the most sacked team in 2017.  It’s the reason you can’t use 2017 data … it’s skewed.  Four teams have had bye weeks, Houston got sacked 10 times Week 1, you can’t call Watson the franchise yet.  What were the Actual Results in 2017?  Do we dare speculate?

Interestingly, Cleveland plays at Houston this week.  A defense ranked 5th against the run and 5th overall … yep, the Browns front office is sure blowing it on improving a defense finishing 31st overall last season to 5th overall and Garrett has played one game.  What does it mean Jabrill Peppers isn’t a fit for Gregg Williams defense?  A traditional 4-3-4 70s style base defense?  Been getting shredded for years by the New NFL and record setting passing.

No one wants to blame coaching.  The defense should be adapted for Peppers’ capability.  Can you give me a few hundred words on how Los Angeles is using Mark Barron and how Arizona used Deone Buchannon?  I’m not a scout, I’ve never played football, was possible value could I add regarding the decision for another first round pick plus a third second round pick instead of Watson?

Kizer needed to go to the bench after the first red zone turnover this past sunday against the Jets, we probably would have won.  It was suggested #7 sit in favor of #8 the entire game against the Jets.  Coaching.  It cost Cleveland a win.

You’re going to give a front office with 24 draft picks the past 2 seasons and 13 scheduled in 2018 an F?

Cleveland 27 Houston 26 – the two point conversion was incomplete.