Prior to the start if the season, Hue Jackson committed to running with Isaiah Crowell more, but I have yet to actually see it. Crowell had 198 attempts last year. This year, he was supposed to have more, yet he has 179 on the 2017 campaign. I expect him to be in the 220-250 range and with two more games, he would finish with 250 plus rush attempts. He may not even top his attempts from last year with the way it looks.
It’s definitely not due to lack of effort because his average of 4.4 yards per carry trumps that. That is currently his second-highest in his career behind his 2016 average of 4.8 yards. I’m baffled by what I watch on Sundays. Even when Crow is running well, the play calling slowly eliminates him from the game.
Most recently versus Baltimore, he had just five attempts. He made the most of it by churning out 72 yards. I’m unsure if Crowell was injured on his 59-yard run to set up Cleveland for a touchdown early in the second quarter, but he didn’t get another touch until the fourth possession of the second half. It was a 17-10 deficit at half, so why was Crowell left hanging? Yeah, Duke had some runs as well as some designed ones for Kizer, but no Crow sightings.
It seems no matter what the flow of the game is, Crowell’s snap count or at least his touches wither away as the game goes on. I feel like I have witnessed the Browns get pass-heavy in every game. They start off a drive running the ball, then begin getting trigger happy when they complete some passes. It’s like they don’t realize the running game opens up the pass.
All of this is very confusing at times. What happened to committing to running the ball? To Crowell? This is a young man who they gave a second-round tender to keep him on the team. Now comes the time to make a decision, is the juice worth the squeeze?
At season’s end, the running back will either become an unrestricted free agent or sign a long-term deal with Cleveland. All signs are pointing towards both sides parting ways. Crowell was here prior to the hiring of Hue Jackson and maybe the two haven’t seen eye to eye. Maybe Jackson has no faith in Crowell after multiple failed runs on downs with short yardage. The problem is that happens with every running back. No one is invincible, even the greats get stuffed at the line from time to time. I see a beast inside Crowell; he just has to be unleashed and has to have the opportunities.
Unless things dramatically turn around the next two games, Crow is probably walking out that door and I don’t think Cleveland will be begging him to stop. I don’t know new GM John Dorsey’s opinion of the halfback, but I’m sure he wants someone he handpicked in place. It’s tough to argue against Dorsey when you see the numbers Kansas City rookie Kareem Hunt is putting up. It’s also tough to envision the front office spending big money on Crowell when they can find a better, cheaper option in the upcoming draft.