Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm Sure There's Nothing to Worry About

The elevation of Bruce Arians from wide receiver coach to offensive coordinator was widely anticipated, and there is certainly something to be said for the continuity that comes from keeping a familiar face amongst the coaches on the offensive side of the football.

However a look back at the performance of Cleveland's offense during the years 2001-2003, while Mr. Arians was their offensive coordinator, is a bit unnerving. For example, in 2001 the Browns were last in the NFL in total yardage, average yardage per play, and average yardage per game. That same season they ranked 28th in time of possession and third down efficiency, and were 25th in average points per game.

In 2002 the Browns' offense showed some improvement. They moved up to 23rd in total yards and average yards per game, and were 19th in average yards per play. They were 17th in per game average time of possession, and 14th in points per game average. Based upon the improvement from 2001 to 2002 Browns fans must have been optimistic about the 2003 season.

However in 2003 the Browns offense slid backwards, falling to 26th in total yardage and average yards per game, 23rd in yards per play, 22nd in per game average time of possession, and 14th in third down efficiency.

During Mr. Arians' tenure as offensive coordinator in Cleveland the Browns passing attack (which, in fairness, featured Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb at quarterback) was never better than 18th in the NFL; and the rushing attack never rose above 20th best in the league -- and never produced a 1,000 yard rusher.

Let's hope that, in this case, the past is not prologue!

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