Cleveland Browns: Predicting 2011 Statistics for Browns Offensive Players

Samantha Bunten@@samanthabuntenAnalyst IMay 12, 2011

Cleveland Browns: Predicting 2011 Statistics for Browns Offensive Players

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    CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 02:  Quarterback Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns looks for a receiver as he is chased by defensive end Ziggy Hood #96 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by M
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    When compared to baseball, football doesn't seem like as much of a numbers game. Individual statistics just don't seem to hold the same fascination for fans of the NFL as they do for fans of MLB. Unless you're talking fantasy football, numbers aren't usually the focus of how you measure a player's individual performance. 

    Still, if you do take a look at a player's stats, they are for the most part a pretty accurate mirror of his performance, and therefore worth a look when attempting to project how a team's season will shake out on the whole. 

    NFL statistics are tougher to predict than MLB statistics, in my opinion. It's also especially difficult for a team like the Browns, who are largely made up of young players who don't have much of a statistical track record to base predictions on. 

    But, it's still an interesting topic to explore, and while numbers certainly don't tell the whole story in any sport—especially football—they're definitely one way to measure a team and its individual players' success. 

    Following are statistical projections for five Browns offensive players in 2011. Projections are based in part on past numbers and in part on expected potential performance. 

    As always, your opinions are highly valued, so please share your own statistical projections for these or any other Browns offensive players in the comments below!

1. QB Colt McCoy

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    Colt McCoy
    Colt McCoyMatt Sullivan/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics

    G: 8 

    CMP: 135

    ATT: 222

    PCT: 60.8

    YDS: 1,576

    TD: 6

    INT: 9

    Projected 2011 Statistics


    CMP: 298

    ATT: 480

    PCT: 62.1

    YDS: 3,622

    TD: 25

    INT: 15

    Assuming McCoy stays healthy and plays all 16 games this season, we can expect his number of attempts to roughly double based on that alone. With (hopefully) a stronger receiving corps and a better offensive line, he should be able to further improve upon that number and more than double both his number of attempts and his number of completions.

    I also expect his completion percentage to improve slightly with fewer WRs on the field who have a tendency to drop passes that they should catch.

    Unfortunately, I don't see McCoy as a hyper-accurate sort of passer, so I don't think his interception totals will be on the low end. However, he's not horridly inaccurate either and he'll be in a West Coast offense structured largely around short passes, so I don't think his INT totals will go through the roof either.

    The new West Coast offense the Browns plan to run should also ultimately enable McCoy to throw more touchdown passes and increase his yards/game. 

2. RB Peyton Hillis

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    Peyton Hillis
    Peyton HillisMatt Sullivan/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics

    G: 16

    ATT: 270

    YDS: 1,177

    TD: 11

    FUM: 8

    2011 Projected Statistics

    G: 16

    ATT: 250

    YDS: 1,110

    TD: 10

    FUM: 6

    Madden Curse? Pshaw. No silly video game superstition is going to stop Hillis; I'm pretty sure he'd effortlessly bulldoze any curse that came his way.

    I do, however, expect Hillis' numbers to drop slightly this season, but it won't be because of a curse or a lesser performance on his part. 

    With a better offense around him in 2011, Hillis won't have to do it all on his own. With better receiving options that will allow the team to not have to rely solely on the ground game and hopefully with a healthy Montario Hardesty shouldering part of the burden at RB, Hillis' numbers won't be as high purely because they won't have to be. 

    It won't be a performance issue for Hillis; he'll likely have less attempts, but I don't expect his total yardage to drop all that much because if anything, I believe he will get more yards per gain than he did in 2010. 

    One area where I do expect Hillis' numbers to improve: fumbles.

    He'll get better because he has to. Hillis fumbled eight times in 2010 and lost five of those. Those aren't awful numbers, but they're also far from great. I expect Hillis to lower his fumble total this season because it's an area in which he needs to improve, and Hillis is quite obviously the kind of guy who won't settle for just OK in any category.

    Another thing that should help? With the offense as a whole improved this season, the sense of desperation will diminish and guys like Hillis will be less likely to make desperate moves and not protect the ball because the team needs those extra few yards so badly.

3. WR Mohamed Massaquoi

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    Mohamed Massaquoi
    Mohamed MassaquoiJ. Meric/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics

    G: 15

    REC: 36

    YDS: 483

    TD: 2

    2011 Projected Statistics

    G: 16

    REC: 70

    YDS: 850

    TD: 7

    As a WR for the Browns in 2010, Massaquoi's numbers were underwhelming to say the least.

    Many of us had projected he would finish the season with at least 700-plus yards. Obviously, he fell far short of that. Much of Massaquoi's failure last season was his own fault, but a good bit of the blame belongs to the team and the coaching staff as well. 

    I believe Massaquoi's numbers will improve dramatically this season because he will improve personally, but mostly, I think he and his numbers will benefit greatly from having a more talented group around him, better coaching and a better system overall.

    Massaquoi is well-suited to the style of West Coast offense the Browns plan to run this season. He'll have other receivers drawing coverage away from him and also be part of a system that runs plays more conducive to success for the type of player that he is. Thus, I expect his reception and yardage totals to nearly double and his number of touchdowns to increase more than threefold. 

4. WR Greg Little

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    Greg Little
    Greg LittleScott Halleran/Getty Images

    Projected 2011 Statistics

    G: 16

    REC: 60

    YDS: 800

    TD: 5

    It's very hard to project numbers for rookies. We don't even know how much playing time Little will see or how many passes will be thrown his way, much less how well he'll be able to perform in however many attempts he does get. 

    Still, most of us are projecting that Little will be either the No. 1 or No. 2 receiver for the Browns this season, so it stands to reason that his numbers will match up with that accordingly. 

    I took my best shot at projecting his numbers on the basis that he would be slightly behind Massaquoi and comfortably ahead of Robiskie. It's certainly possible that he could eclipse Massaquoi in these categories and less likely but possible that Robiskie will put up better totals than he does, but I think he's more likely to land somewhere in the middle. 

5. TE Ben Watson

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    Ben Watson
    Ben WatsonMatt Sullivan/Getty Images

    2010 Statistics

    G: 16

    REC: 68

    YDS: 763

    TD: 3

    2011 Projected Statistics


    REC: 58

    YDS: 700

    TD: 2

    There's no greater proof of how badly the Browns WRs did in 2010 than the fact that TE Ben Watson beat them all by several hundred yards on the season.

    The fact that no Browns WR came even close to within 200 yards of his totals last year is, well, kind of horrifying. Luckily, I don't think we're going to see a repeat of that in 2011. 

    I see Watson's reception and yardage totals dropping slightly this season for a reason similar to the slight drop in numbers I'm predicting for Hillis: He won't do as much because, well, he won't have to.

    With a better group of WRs around him and a system more conducive to the players in it, Watson won't have to be the go-to receiver anymore, which is nice considering he's a tight end. 

    Still, I think Watson will put up a solid showing in 2011. He'll still get plenty of opportunities and he'll still make good use of them, so I doubt his numbers will drop off at the rate you might expect for someone who has a team that is so much better than last year's version around him.

    I still expect Watson to be a vital part of the Browns offense and thus, I still see him posting numbers befitting a great tight end.