When your team is 0-14, on the verge of going 0-16, and has won just one of its last 30 games, there’s bound to be plenty of criticism, questions, and just outright anger. Plenty has been made up head coach Hue Jackson’s ability to also be the offensive coordinator while trying to lead the team. For much of the time, it’s the fans and media who have criticized Jackson’s play calling ability, or lack thereof. With just two games left in the season, it looks as though running back Isaiah Crowell is starting to question it as well.
“I’m sure that I can help my team more than I really do and more than I’ve been given the opportunity to do,” Crowell said. “Really, it just upsets me. Sometimes I feel disrespected about it, but I can’t even think about it. That’s the coach’s decision.”
Crowell racked up four catches (five targets) against the Ravens, but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that he had just five carries. Although he ran for 72 yards, thanks to a 59-yard run. Even with that, that still didn’t catch the eye of head coach Hue Jackson. Comparing him against the second part of the backfield duo, Duke Johnson, Crowell barely seemed to touch the ball. Johnson had seven carries and five receptions (seven targets). The smart thing to do would be to have both of them on the field at the same time, as much as possible. Then again, who am I to say at this point?
During the Browns’ lone touchdown-scoring drive, in the second quarter, they ran the ball with their running backs five times. The rest of the game following that drive? Just seven carries from the two running backs.
Averaging 4.6 yards per carry, the Browns have the third-best average yards gained per carry in the NFL. The problem? They are 25th in the NFL in carries per game, attempting just 24.1 carries a game. There lies the problem. Both Crowell and Johnson seem to be producing well, it’s just that Jackson isn’t calling enough plays in order to get them the ball.
An unrestricted free agent at season’s end, Crowell is averaging 4.4 yards per carry this season, a year after he averaged 4.8 yards a carry. If that holds, he would be the third running back in the past two years to run for an average of 4.4 yards per carry. The other two? Falcons’ Devonta Freeman. Not bad of company to be in, huh?
Even with quarterback DeShone Kizer’s struggles inside the red zone, especially with how much the rookie has turned the ball over, you’d think the head coach would call plays in order to take some of the stress off his quarterback. That seems even more obvious every time Kizer turns the ball over, especially when he’s on the verge of scoring touchdown