Most of us have heard the statistic that Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been sacked more than any other QB (35 times, to be exact), but sacks only tell a part of the story when it comes to putting pressure (or allowing pressure) on the quarterback. While the Dolphins line has had its issues, it’s interesting to see that the 44 QB hits they have allowed aren’t the most in the NFL. Tannehill has been hit frequently and 44 QB hits is good for sixth in the NFL, but it’s the Cleveland Browns who have allowed their quarterbacks to suffer the most hits. They haven’t allowed as many sacks as the Dolphins, but they have allowed their QBs to receive a great beating. Looking at overall pressure is the best way to judge an offensive line’s performance when it comes to raw statistics, but QB hits still give a much better indication of an offensive line’s ability than sacks do.
The Browns have allowed Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, and Jason Campbell to be hit a combined 61 times, which is quite an alarming statistic. It leads the league, and only the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers have allowed more sacks than the Browns. While Alex Mack continues to be solid in the middle of the Browns offensive line and Joe Thomas is as elite as ever in pass protection on the blindside, the Browns pass protection has still been subpar this season.
Give credit to Oniel Cousins for screwing things up by starting, and give some more credit to Mitchell Schwartz for a disappointing performance so far. Schwartz is better than he’s playing this season, so hopefully he can bounce back soon. The fact that the Browns lead the league in QB hits, though, is honestly a bit misleading.
Brandon Weeden is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL when he’s pressured, and I don’t think this statement is even remotely debatable. He holds onto the ball far too long and seems to have no concept of the phrase “quick release”. As we saw when he came in for an injured Hoyer earlier this year, Weeden has a knack for making his offensive line look worse than it is. Cousins, Schwartz, and John Greco have had issues in pass protection and Willis McGahee seems to have difficulty picking up the Browns pass protection assignments in the backfield, but the Browns QB hits numbers are slightly inflated by Weeden.
Thank goodness Browns fans don’t have to suffer watching Weeden take unnecessary sacks and generally look out of his element out there, because Browns fans have suffered enough over the years. 61 QB hits is a lot, though, so you can’t pin all of that on just Weeden self-inflicting pain due to his inability to get the ball out of there on a timely basis. No, plenty of blame needs to go to some members of the offensive line (Schwartz has already allowed over double-digit QB hits, which would account for about a fifth of the Browns total hits allowed) and the backs in pass protection.