Moon: Browns' Offense "Asking For Trouble"

The Browns need to play better, but that might require a change in philosophy

Tiki and Tierney
October 10, 2019 - 12:33 pm

In Week 4, the Cleveland Browns ran 29 times for 193 yards and four touchdowns in a 40-25 win over the Ravens. Baker Mayfield played well that day, finishing 20-of-30 for 342 yards, one touchdown and a pick.

“They ran the football, and then they did some play-action pass, which really helps your young quarterback,” Warren Moon said on Tiki & Tierney. “He’s going to get better protection, he’s going to get less underneath coverage by those linebackers because they’re worried about the run and he’s going to get better passing lanes to throw the football to and bigger strikes down the field with more one-on-one coverage.”

The Browns, Moon says, should keep doing that – which is something they didn’t do in a 31-3 loss to the 49ers on Monday Night Football. Mayfield was 8-of-22 for 100 yards, two interceptions, two fumbles (one lost) and four sacks.

Moon believes the Browns would be better-served implementing an offensive philosophy similar to Seattle, which ranks fourth in the league in rushing attempts.

“So many of these coordinators want to get into these fancy passing games because of the way the rules are right now and try to spread it out and open it up,” Moon said. “But when you have a young quarterback and you’re asking him to sit back there and read all of that – and they don’t have a great offensive line – you’re asking for trouble. They need to take a script out of what Russell Wilson has been doing since he’s been in the league: run the football and play-action pass. That’s where you get your big plays.”

Wilson has completed 73.1 percent of his passes for 1,409 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He’s also rushed for 120 yards and two scores and is on the short list of NFL MVP candidates.

Granted, Mayfield isn’t as athletic as Wilson. Few quarterbacks are.

“You’re going to get sacked and hit a lot as a decent athlete,” Moon said. “As an uber-athlete, you’re going to escape and get outside and make plays with your legs and buy time for your offensive line. That’s the difference between Russell Wilson and some of these other guys. He’s always looking down the field to throw the football. He’s not looking to run. He just wants to give himself a little bit more time and a little bit more vision, and he’s very accurate when he throws the ball on the run.”

Which is why offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer calls plays that put Wilson in that exact situation.

“That’s what most good offensive coordinators do,” Moon said. “They’re going to do the things their quarterback does best.”