The Cleveland Browns set out to attack opponents with a balanced offense, but the team has struggled to find that balance between the passing and running games.
Although the Browns have attempted 369 passes and turned those into 2,339 yards as well as 16 scores, the running game has accounted for 734 yards and one touchdown on 199 carries. And that is something the Browns’ coaches and players have set out to improve on over the final seven games of the regular season.
“It’s something that we’ve taken a hard look at during the bye week,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “We want to have balance and recognize that we need to improve the running game and whatever it takes to win. We’ve played some good teams that are loading up on us in the run game. We feel like we’ve identified some things and are going to take the steps, and have taken the steps to try to improve that part of our offense.
“When I speak to balance, it’s not necessarily the number of runs vs. the number of passes, but the ability to have that threat and the willingness to do it as well. There’s going to be situations that come up as the season goes on, and there always is in games, where you have to be able to run the ball. We recognize that. That willingness and that commitment are there, and there will be some times where we need to do it as the season goes on.”
“We were trying to develop that over the bye week, more of a mindset and attitude when we’re running the football,” Campbell said. “When you’re running the football, it’s not always about popping a 30 or 40-yard run. Sometimes, five or six yards here and there are good for you. As long as you’re moving the ball in a positive direction, those three and four yards at the end add up. Sometimes, it’s those minor runs that keep teams honest and at the same time, it gives us confidence.”
In addition to studying how they could be more effective running the football, the Browns got a chance to let their running backs heal from various injuries during the team’s annual bye week last Sunday.
Through nine games, Ogbonnaya rushed for 101 yards on 19 carries, and his 5.3 yards-per-carry average is tops among those Browns with 19 or more attempts. He has added 207 yards and two touchdowns on 28 receptions.
“I’m feeling fine, man,” Ogbonnaya said. “I think the bye week definitely helped. It’s just the grind of the season. You take some hits; you take some shots, but bye week is always a good time to catch up on rest and recover a little bit. Anytime you have time off is a perfect time. It’s a time for you to rejuvenate and a time for you to recover. Then, you get some time with your family or friends, and now, we’re back to work.
“I just go to practice with the same mindset, just to work hard and prepare myself as if I’m going to get a lot (of carries). That’s every week. Sometimes, it happens, and sometimes, it doesn’t. My job is to help my team in the best way that I can, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”