Browns passing offense converts third downs at a high rate

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Kevin Stefanski made a few things clear after he was hired as the Cleveland Browns new head coach. One of the biggest was his desire to marry the team’s run and pass games so that the plays would look similar as often as possible.

Stefanski also made it clear that the Browns would be a run-heavy team and backed that up with the fourth-most rushing attempts and fourth-highest percentages of plays being run in the NFL.

None of that was due to a poor passing game. Baker Mayfield, the offensive line and the pass-catching weapons at Stefanski’s disposal are all quality players. Instead, the quality run game was put into place, along with the mirrored run/pass concepts, to set the passing attack up for success.

One area where the Browns passing offense excelled was on third downs:

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Mayfield converted on a high rate despite having a large sample size and, more importantly, having a high average “to go” yardage.

The chart should provide encouragement for the 2021 season and beyond. Stefanski allowed Mayfield to be aggressive on third downs and it paid off.

Where the Browns can improve is in making the passing attack’s job a little easier. Through more success on early downs, Cleveland’s passing attack can see shorter third down “to go” yardage. Even dropping that average closer to the Aaron Rodgers rate, or better yet the Ryan Fitzpatrick area, could lead to even more success for Mayfield and the passing offense.

With the return of Odell Beckham Jr. and another year in the same system, the Browns success on offense should grow including their already high third-down conversion rate.