Browns By The Numbers – Part II of II
Continuing the trend of using http://www.pro-football-reference.com to review and analyze the four
seasons following the 2007 (fluke) season, I reviewed a few additional trends.
Focusing on the six divisional games over the past four years and point ratios in those contests:
2008 – Loss to Steelers by 4, Loss to Ravens by 18, Win over Bengals by 8, Loss to Ravens by
10, Loss to Bengals by 14, Loss to Steelers by 31 – Overall point differential – -69 pts
2009 – Loss to Ravens by 31, Loss to Bengals by 3, Loss to Steelers by 13, Loss to Ravens by
16, Loss to Bengals by 9, Win over Steelers by 7 – Overall point differential – -65 pts
2010 – Loss to Ravens by 7, Win over Bengals by 3, Loss to Steelers by 18, Loss to Bengals by
2, Loss to Ravens by 10, Loss to Steelers by 32 – Overall point differential – -66 pts
2011 – Loss to Bengals by 10, Loss to Bengals by 3, Loss to Ravens by 14, Loss to Steelers by
11, Loss to Ravens by 6, Loss to Steelers by 4 – Overall point differential – -48 pts
– Although the 2011 Cleveland Browns did not win a single division game, their overall point
differential has been better then the previous three seasons. There has been an approximate 28%
improvement over the past three seasons.
The close to favorable 20 point disparity is pretty remarkable, considering even a fluke win
could have significantly lowered this amount. Six of the annual sixteen games are inter-division
match-ups and are vital in becoming a successful NFL franchise. Improving in this area is key
in the future development of the Cleveland Browns. Obviously wins are desired as opposed to
close losses but, with the steady implementation of improved personnel, these will come in time.
Based off of the fact the defense has already improved and the offense has been able to move the
ball in 2011, I’m lead to believe inter-division victories will follow in 2012.
Comparing the Cleveland Browns average roster age since 2008:
2008 – 26.7 years old
2009 – 27.2 years old
2010 – 27.5 years old
2011 – 25.7 years old
– This is by far the youngest roster in four years. A decrease of 1.8 years per player is huge
considering the importance of speed and athleticism in the game. Attrition begins to set in
with the older veterans, and although it’s a case by case basis, a vast majority lose an ability to
compete. Therefore, a younger losing team is better than an older losing team.
They have been winning about the same number of games compared to the past few years while
maintaining a roster full of youthful athletes. Putting faith in the coaching staff to develop the
players’ talent and abilities (arguments aside, this is visible with several players), we should
potentially see a top-to-bottom improvement in 2012 and beyond. This obviously will be based
upon the general manager to select the correct players in the offseason, but for the most part he
has not given me a reason to think otherwise.
Listing the 2011 playoff teams average roster ages:
AFC –Patriots – 26.3 years old, Ravens – 26.5 years old, Texans – 26.7 years old, Broncos –
26.1 years old, Steelers – 27.0 years old, Bengals – 25.5 years old
NFC –Packers – 25.3 years old, 49ers – 26.0 years old, Saints – 26.1 years old, Giants – 26.3
years old, Falcons – 26.4 years old, Lions – 26.5 years old
Reviewing the playoff teams this season, only the Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers
have younger rosters. Both teams have been known for relying heavily on the draft and skirting
high-priced free agency acquisitions.
It’s going to be very difficult to envision future playoff scenarios without the Packers. An
extremely young roster who is winning now is a great formula for present and future success.
I’ve got to admire the off-season for the Bengals as well. Granted their team may be the weakest
of the twelve playoff teams, but still their future seems to be bright.
Seeing how the Browns are younger than the remaining ten playoff teams, it’s crucial to continue
to improve overall so if I update this statistic in 2012 and 2013 the Cleveland Browns name will
appear. The roster age will be likely similar to those teams listed in the 2011 playoffs. Teams
with staying power (a.k.a. perennial playoff contenders) know how to effectively adjust rosters
based on players’ abilities and the salary cap availability on a yearly basis. While the Browns
will get more experienced (and hopefully improved), it will be interesting to see how the older
teams like the Steelers, Texans, and Ravens turn over their roster in the coming months.
Therefore, five good points relating to an improving defense, an offense that can move the ball
down the field (and may be a only a few players away from consistently putting the ball in the
end zone), a more competitive team, and a young roster that can develop down the road should
give Browns fans hope, if nothing else, for the future.