Joe Flacco Deep Dive: Uncovering the Browns’ Passing Game


Dec 15, 2023

Joe Flacco and the Cleveland Browns have been at the center of attention in the NFL‘s late season, mainly due to his impact on the team’s offense. This influence has been significant enough for the Browns to offer him a new deal for the upcoming season. A notable shift in their strategy has been an increased emphasis on passing plays. However, a deeper look into Flacco’s performance reveals a surprising trend.

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Despite the popular image of Flacco’s strong arm and deep field throws, his effectiveness in this area doesn’t match the narrative. When throwing the ball 20 yards downfield, Flacco hasn’t topped the charts for the Browns. Deshaun Watson and PJ Walker have efficiently outperformed him for these long-range passes. Statistically, Flacco ranks 45th out of 48 qualifying quarterbacks in Expected Points Added per attempt for passes over 20 yards. Across various metrics—completion rate, success rate, yards per attempt, or EPA per attempt—Flacco is 42nd or lower among 48 quarterbacks.

The upcoming game strategy against the Chicago Bears should account for these insights. The Bears have shown strength in stopping the run but are less effective against passes to running backs. The Browns would benefit from adjusting their approach with a weakened offensive line. Rather than focusing on deep, over-the-top throws where they have struggled, short passes to their running backs might prove more fruitful against the Bears’ defense. This adjustment could facilitate a smoother progression down the field, playing to the Browns’ strengths and circumventing the Bears’ defensive capabilities.

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Thumbnail photo via Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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