Cleveland Browns scouting report: Young talent improving

Rob Carr - Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns enter the weekend contest 0-4, but coming off their best performance to date on a short week against division rival Baltimore Ravens. The Browns have not been a successful team recently, but that didn't stop them from causing the New York Giants fits when they last met in 2008, a year the Giants would end up going 12-4.

The Giants are the New York Giants, a team that defies logic. And this will probably be a game that goes down to the wire.

Offense

Here's a comparison of the two teams broken down in table form.

Category Cleveland Giants
Yards per game 311.5 (25th) 411 (7th)
Points per game 18.2 (27th) 27.8 (9th)
Passing yards per game 235.2 (20th) 321.5 (2nd)
Rushing yards per attempt 4.1 (13th) 3.9 (16th)
Sacks allowed 9 (T 15th) 5 (3rd)

The Cleveland Browns are not a powerful offensive force, ranking 27th in the league in points scored with 18.2 points per game, and 25th in the league with 311.5 yards per game (for reference Eli Manning is averaging 330 yards passing per game. The discrepancy is due to the sack yardage being taken out of the total yards per game, but not Eli's total passing yards). And when your offense doesn't get a lot of yards it usually stands to reason that the time of possession won't be in your favor. This is the case for the Browns, who only have the ball 26:17 a game.

Surprisingly, the Browns are tied for 10th in the league with 15 passes of 20 yards or more.

Individual statistics

Here are some of the team's offensive leaders.

- Rookie running back Trent Richardson has accumulated 222 yards on the ground, but only at 3.5 yards per attempt. What a bust! In all seriousness a terrific young player.

- Wide receiver Travis Benjamin has 4 rushes at 12.5 yards per carry, and he is also a return man. Must be a jack of all trades type player, I'll have more that in my weekly "Beyond the Box Score" feature.

- Wide receiver Greg Little, according to Pro Football Focus, is tied with Demaryius Thomas for the league lead in drops with 5. Victor Cruz, has four. But Cruz has been more productive than Little, and three of Cruz's drops came in one game.

I don't remember the exact number of games, but one thing the Browns have going for them is continuity. Their offensive linemen stay healthy, and they have played together a lot.

The team's leader in receptions is ....Richardson.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden's numbers through the first quarter of the NFL season: 90-for-167, (6 yards per passing attempt), a 53.5 completion percentage, three touchdowns and 7 interceptions for a 60.4 QB rating.

The Browns have some young talent, but they are not a very good offense yet.

Defense

Category Browns Giants
Points per game 24.5 (20th) 21 (13th)
Yards per game 403.2 (25th)
372.2 (22nd)
Rushing yards per attempt 4.0 (14th) 4.5 (20th)
Yards per pass attempt 7.1 (T 13th) 9.0 (tied last)
Sacks 13 (T 5th) 8 (T 18th)

The Browns are also fourth in the league with 6 interceptions (though most of you probably know that Michael Vick is a large part of that).

I believe Joe Haden has a four-game suspension, but that he'll miss this game in week 5 because he appealed the suspension and played in the first game.

The team leader in sacks is linebacker D'qwell Jackson. Jackson is also the leader in interceptions. Wouldn't you know the leader in tackles is actually safety T.J. Ward with 27 (Jackson's not far behind with 25).

The Browns are not playing that poorly on defense considering as I said earlier that the offense has had a difficult time holding onto the football and the Browns play more defensive possessions than most teams.

Special Teams

Kicker Phil Dawson has not missed a field goal this year. Surprisingly, Dawson has not attempted a field goal between 30 and 39 yards.

Punter Reggie Hodges is averaging 43.1 yards per punt attempt with eight inside the 20-yard line.

The Browns main return man is Josh Cribbs, averaging 13.1 yards per attempt on punt returns (which is good) and 28.4 yards per kick return.

These are the basic numbers for the Giants upcoming opponent. Consider this an introduction to the Cleveland Browns, but there'll be much more analysis throughout the week.

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