The Cleveland Browns have managed to do something correct in terms of personnel, but it took two years for anyone to notice. The Browns took a chance on an undrafted free agent in 2014 and the payoff is finally being seen two years later. In his first year in the league, Isaiah Crowell has had to share the load with Terrance West and Ben Tate. In the midst of a three-headed ground attack, he still managed 607 yards on 148 rushes. In 2015 he shared the load with Duke Johnson but still managed 706 yards on 185 carries.
This season, he’s the featured back and the Browns couldn’t be happier. As they approach their 5th game the Browns have the league’s best-rushing attack with Crowell leading the way with 385 yards, but what makes it more impressive is, he’s still sharing the load. For the numbers that leading rusher, Ezekiel Elliott has he also has 30 more rushing attempts. If Crowell was to average the same attempts as the rest of the backs he would have huge advantage yards wise on the rest of the league.
If the Browns can get their offense in gear with new starting QB, Cody Kessler, it could open up more lanes for Crowell and the ground game. If the defense can hold opponents and keep scores tight, that will also give the Browns more opportunities to exploit a defense. When your defense is giving up an average of almost 30 points per game it’s hard to commit to the run.
It may be hard for Crowell to get the rushing crown with the Browns using a split backfield but his numbers will have him in the Pro Bowl if he can continue on his current pace. He averages 97 yards per game but his strongest contribution is his 6.4 yards per carry. If the Browns can get more opportunities in the red zone that’s where he is most dangerous.
The Browns will go through their growing pains this year but Crowell will be a bright spot until the cloud moves.