Aside from Amari Cooper, the Browns have seen a major discrepancy in production from the rest of the wide receiver room.
There’s a major statistical discrepancy that the Browns cannot ignore anymore.
While star wideout, Amari Cooper continues to live just outside of the top 10 league wide in receiver statistics, the rest of his position group has been M.I.A. for Cleveland.
Take this past week for example. In a 27-0 win over Arizona, Cooper racked up 139 of quarterback Deshaun Watson’s 219 yards passing, on just five receptions, one of which was a touchdown. The rest of the wide receivers combined for a measly three receptions and 17 yards.
Across the entirety of season, receivers not named Cooper have compiled only 46 catches, 418 yards and zero touchdowns. Included in those figures are the eight receptions and 97 yards from the since traded, Donovan Peoples-Jones, who saw a massive drop in production from a season ago.
That fact likely contributed to the team’s willingness to move DPJ after the former sixth-round pick put up career numbers in 2022. What’s most bizarre about the precipitous drop in People-Jones’ numbers is that his role didn’t change from a season ago.
Elijah Moore’s up-and-down season is equally as alarming considering how much he was showcased in the offense throughout training camp and the preseason. The expectation was that the former New York Jet would be a focal point. Instead, he’s been an after thought.
Considering that Cleveland dedicated resources in in free agency, the draft and via trade this offseason to bolster the wide receiver room, the lack of production from that group is becoming glaring.
On Wednesday, Watson tried to explain the discrepancy.
“The biggest thing for me is just, the way the game flows,” the 28-year-old said. “It’s really just trying to find the open guy depending on what the play call is and my reads, and what the defense presents.
“[If you want] a more in depth, detailed answer, you gotta ask Kevin [Stefanski].”
Watson did go on admit that some of his inaccuracies on shorter passes this season have stemmed from “connecting with the guy,” seemingly suggesting that as he gets more reps under his belt with receivers like Moore, Marquise Goodwin, Cedric Tillman and David Bell, these concerns could be amended.
There is the added context that Watson has been in and out of the lineup due to a shoulder injury, leaving Cleveland’s pass catchers taking snaps with three different quarterbacks this season. The presence of other threats such as tight end David Njoku and running backs Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt have also been a factor.
That said, with Baltimore on the schedule this weekend, boasting one of the stingiest defenses in the NFL, Watson and the Browns could use all hands on deck from the wide receiver room.