I've touched on this before, but the Browns do not have a QB-WR situation where one position group helps to overcome the shortcomings of the other. Generally, at least for your more stable teams with franchise QB's, you can overcome the loss of receivers. Tampa Bay doesn't have Godwin, Gronk is banged up, and they just lost AB over his insanity. Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson and Cameron Brate stepped in to contribute and the wheels keep turning.
There were multiple Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. moments in this game, but this play is really my frustrations in a nutshell. Because this should be pitch and catch. Our personnel and their inability to execute wasn't on the coaching staff. And it's the little plays like this where you take your cheap yards, stay on schedule and put together a positive drive.
Here we are again with the empty sets. Broken record, I know, I know.
Pre-snap, you can read potential space to work with for any sight adjustments. You can also do a box count and check the alignment of the defense along with a potential coverage shell and get an idea of how you'd like to attack this for those cheap yards.
Either way, you know that corner as the most perimeter man and if your post-snap adjust dictates boxing him out with the receiver, then what you're looking to do is to just take advantage of your skill players getting quickly off the line and into space before the rushers along the line can drop back into their assignments. Reading hot... If #3 is coming on a pressure, you can hit that little fire pass to your TE to his inside or outside shoulder depending on leverage of the edge-most defender (2) If 3 drops inside over your TE and 2 comes on the pressure, then your #2 just works lateral away from all the traffic.
Either way, this an attempt at an overload. The Dline shift means you're liking going to call a slide to pickup the estimated bodies. The DE to the boundary is already at more of a 4i tech. So Wills doesn't have to worry about setting to his outside edge and even if there was a slant called, the natural alignments makes it easy to widen out his rusher.
Both 2 and 3 rushers come on a pressure. The Browns Oline has a slide call and the rush is picked up beautifully. This is quality protection.
Two issues ruin this play.
1st - DPJ, instead of running flat immediately and getting away from traffic ASAP, runs 5 up then breaks out. It isn't a back breaking problem, but I've mentioned that even when this team does connect, the "polish" just isn't there. This team has struggled to get max YAC all year. I haven't seen the numbers, but if I had to guess, we're likely bottom half of the league in yards beyond expected YAC. Where example a team like San Fran leads the NFL in yards beyond expected YAC.
The finality of the play....
- Baker could have cleaned this play up, but for reasons I can't understand, he double clutches instead of putting it outside or at worst... directly on DPJ. The ball ends up too high and too far back inside. Worst of all, both DPJ and Baker allowed for the one defender who could have ruined this play to recover. It's like losing a 2 on 1 fast break in Basketball. It's fucking embarrassing. I've mentioned this offense having this same issue several times before. It's not a coaching problem right there, this is an execution problem.
Ultimately I need my QB to be able to cover up bad smells here and there from the players around him. That's why the QB is the most important piece and gets paid. Because if my QB position is settled, then I have my foundation to build around. But I've been going back and watching games as early as the 1st 1/3 of the season and this wasn't an uncommon sight. Routine plays that either didn't achieve the expected yards they could have, or were a complete bust.
So when I hear Baker say things like "I know what I have to work on"... then he's setting himself up for either greatness or total failure. Because when his shoulder and body are right and should he continue to miss throws like this, he will not be the QB in Cleveland for the 2023 season at the price a franchise QB is found.