New faces are plentiful in Cleveland. The introduction of Freddie Kitchens as head coach and the signing of Odell Beckham JR has brought about a sea of change, writes our guest writer Owain Jones.
Now, with so many expectations lying on the shoulders of the Browns offense, we look at how different the Browns’ playbook will be in 2019.
We are likely to see a change in strategy on offense as Freddie Kitchens continues to overhaul the Cleveland Browns. When offensive coordinator Todd Monken was calling plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers they had the league’s top passing offense.
In Cleveland, we can expect to see a much more balanced offense with the ball being ran more often than it has in previously. A difference in style between head coach and offensive coordinator will also mean we have a mix of two different offensive schemes.
Monken comes with great reputation and pedigree where he ran a high-performance attack in Tampa Bay. Monken loves to run an 11 personnel formation – 1 TE, 1 RB, and 3 WR.
It was called by Monken on 70% of total offensive plays in 2018, that’s the most in the NFL according to ESPN. In contrast, 11 personnel was called only 55% of the time while Kitchens was the offensive coordinator, 10th in the NFL. With a variety of top draw receivers to the scheme, we could see a shift to 11 personnel.
This will be especially clear over the first eight games of the 2019 season as running back Kareem Hunt serves a suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, restricting the options in the Browns’ backfield.
As things settle in Cleveland the 11 personnel formation could be vital in establishing early dominance.
Blending 2 different offensive schemes will not be easy. This is also clear when it comes to a 13 personnel formation – this consists of 1 RB, 1WR and 3 TEs. The 13 personnel is normally reserved for rushing plays.
ESPN Analysis shows that Kitchens used this on 16% of plays, this topped the NFL for usage. Monken used the 13 personnel only 2% of offensive plays. 13 personnel was also the most successful of formations in 2018 for the Browns averaging 11.1 yards per attempt.
Freddie Kitchens loves using tight ends both in the passing game but also for blocking. We can expect to see a lot more play-action in the 13 personnel formation as Baker Mayfield improves his reading of NFL defenses going into his second year.
Cleveland now has the ability to be diverse on offense. Utilising key weapons such as Odell Beckham JR, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt is key.
This means the Browns can be comfortable with a variety of schemes and formations. Both Kitchens and Monken love to run explosive, downfield offenses.
It is up to them to combine two fiery offensive schemes into an aggressive and creative playbook. Kitchens will continue to call the offensive plays going into 2019.
But the contribution of Monken and his knowledge of taking the top off of defenses will make this offense dangerous.
With so many playmakers on offense, the Browns can finally afford to be aggressive, ambitious and artistic. Now, they just need to pick the right play for the right time