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Cleveland Browns Create Blueprint to Win With QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson In Lineup
The Cleveland Browns immediately turned to fifth-round rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson upon news of starting quarterback Deshaun Watson suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.
In any scenario, a backup being forced into the starting lineup, let alone a rookie, changes expectations in regards to a team’s seasonal outlook.
But the Browns still managed a 13-10 victory over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers and laid the groundwork for how the team can still be a factor as the campaign progresses. The key involves decreasing the emphasis on the quarterback position.
Ultimately, Thompson-Robinson threw 43 pass attempts. But he averaged a meager 3.8 yards per attempt. Head coach/offensive play-caller Kevin Stefanski relied on a quick passing game and simple reads to make life easier on his first-year signal-caller. Initially, Cleveland leaned heavily on running backs Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt, with strong runs and even some Wildcat plays.
Furthermore, the Browns can rely on the game’s best defense to make plays and slow (or even shut down) opposing offenses. Cleveland just needs enough from its offense to make each week’s performance more than a one-sided affair.
As the rookie grows more comfortable the Browns can take more shots off the play-action game, while also implementing extra quarterback-designed runs and movement.
At 7-3, Cleveland is very much in the playoff hunt and sits half a game behind the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens.
Against better competition with functional offenses, the Browns will need a little more from everyone on the offense. The team can’t rely solely on the defense to make a real dent this season. But the approach seen Sunday is a great starting point to show what Cleveland’s offense can become with a different quarterback leading the way.
Pittsburgh Steelers Must Find Ways to Feature RB Jaylen Warren More
The Steelers offense looked in complete disarray, particularly the passing game.
Kenny Pickett, whom the organization chose in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, simply isn’t playing like a starting-caliber quarterback. He wasn’t on the same page as his wide receivers throughout Sunday’s contest. The quarterback’s pocket presence proved to be suspect. Pittsburgh managed a meager 77 passing yards against the Browns.
But a spark can be found in running back Jaylen Warren.
The entire unit looks different with Warren in the mix, because the former undrafted free agent is an explosive runner capable of creating chunk plays, including an impressive 74-yard touchdown romp against a really good defense.
In fact, Warren’s 145 yards from scrimmage easily outgained the rest of the team. Considering the second-year ball-carrier has three straight games of 100 or more yards from scrimmage, his presence should drastically increase.
Najee Harris shouldn’t be splitting touches. The 2021 first-round draft pick averaged 4.2 yards per touch during the aforementioned stretch. For comparison, Warren posted an average of 8.6.
In order for Pittsburgh to be more productive, the right players need to be on the field. Warren is the Steelers’ best offensive player, and he’s yet to be used as a true focal point.