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Browns position analysis: Highs and lows for RBs in 2016

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Over the next week, ClevelandBrowns.com will analyze each position group on the roster with a quick look back at 2016 and an eye toward 2017 and beyond.*

Raw Data

Isaiah Crowell — 198 carries, 952 yards, 7 TDs and 40 catches, 319 yards

Duke Johnson Jr. — 73 carries, 358 yards, 1 TD and 53 catches, 514 yards

George Atkinson III — 7 carries 34 yards, 1 TD

Danny Vitale — 4 catches, 27 yards

Malcolm Johnson* — 1 carry, 2 yards

Glenn Winston — N/A

Rajion Neal — N/A

Darius Jackson — N/A

Other notable rushers on the roster:

Robert Griffin III — 21 carries, 190 yards, 2 TDs

Kevin Hogan — 8 carries, 105 yards, 1 TD

Terrelle Pryor Sr. — 8 carries, 21 yards, 1 TD 

  • No longer with team

Rankings

Rushing yards — 1,712 - 19th

Rushing yards per game —  107 yards per game - 18th

Rushing TDs - 15 - 30th

Average yards per carry — 4.9 - 2nd

Rushing attempts per game — 21.9 - 31stFumbles - 12 (5 lost) - 1st and 2nd

Contract talk

The following players are restricted or unrestricted free agents heading into 2017:

N/A

Quote to note

"The biggest thing is they have played and they have been out there each week. They are dependable players, reliable. I know what I am going to get from them. The biggest thing as you move forward, that is very valuable in the National Football League – guys who will be out there and compete and be there every week – and both of those players that you just mentioned have done that." — Browns head coach Hue Jackson on Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr.

High point

The first four weeks of the season. The Browns were downright rolling through the first month of the season. After Week 4, they led the league in rushing with 149.3 yards while lead back Isaiah Crowell led the league in yards per carry (6.8) and ranked second in total yards and yards per game.

Low point

For all the momentum the Browns had early in the season, the run game dropped off significantly through the middle eight weeks of the season. Perhaps the game that most embodied this departure in production were Weeks 10 and 11 against the Ravens and Steelers when Cleveland finished with 13 carries for 33 yards in back-to-back games against AFC North rivals.

#FeedTheCrow

Before the season, Isaiah Crowell said he hoped to finish 2016 with 1,000 yards rushing. The third-year back didn't quite reach that goal but had one of the best seasons of any Cleveland player. He set personal bests in attempts (198), yards (952), yards per carry (4.8) and ran for a career-high 152 yards in an overtime loss to the Steelers. Crowell eclipsed the 100-yard mark four times this season.

Outlook for 2017

The run game was defined by highs and lows in 2016, but the future would appear to be bright for the Browns' running backs. Crowell and Johnson showed the promise that Jackson spoke of this past offseason and should only improve next season with running backs coach/run game coordinator Kirby Wilson at the helm. Cleveland, which was forced to reshuffle its offensive line throughout the season because of injuries to key players, should take another step forward as guards Joel Bitonio and John Greco recover from foot injuries that sidelined them.

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