When the Cleveland Browns hired Bill Callahan in the offseason, they were counting on it to pay big dividends.
Callahan has made a career out of teaching the zone blocking scheme.
He has made his mark on the Browns following the 2020 season and the offensive line according to Pro Football Focus.
In 2019, the Browns finished #23 in PFF’s offensive line rankings.
“It’s been a long year for Cleveland. The team’s 2018 success stemmed largely from an interior group that was a wall in pass protection with Joel Bitonio, J.C. Tretter and Kevin Zeitler. Bitonio and Tretter had similar success in the passing game, but the combination of Wyatt Teller (56.8 overall grade) and Eric Kush (45.4 overall grade) had significantly less success than what Zeitler accomplished. That dip in pass protection, in addition to a bottom-10 run-blocking grade from the line, pushes them down the list in 2019.”
Fast forward to the hiring of Callahan in 2020, Andrew Berry’s front office moves, and the Browns have finished 2020 ranked as the #1 unit.
“Conklin ended the 2020 season as the highest-graded right tackle in the league at 84.3 overall, and he was the only right tackle in the NFL to allow a pressure rate below 3.0% on 250 or more pass-blocking snaps (2.9%).
The biggest surprise on the line, though, was the man to Conklin’s left — Wyatt Teller at right guard. Teller’s 92.9 PFF grade on the year also led his position, and it served as a massive year-over-year improvement from the 56.7 overall grade we saw from him in 2019. No guard earned a positive grade on a higher percentage of his run-blocking snaps than Teller did.
Offensive line coach Bill Callahan deserves a lot of credit for the job he has done with this group this season.”
1. Cleveland Browns
2. Green Bay Packers
7. Indianapolis Colts @PFF_Linsey's final 2020 NFL offensive line rankings ⬇️
— PFF (@PFF) January 6, 2021
Ranked #1 for both Pass and Run Blocking
The Browns finished with the highest run blocking grade at 81.2 over the 49ers (81.0) and Colts (78.8).
However, the Browns were far and away the highest in pass blocking grade at 86.5.
The next highest were the Green Bay Packers (79.9) and the Washington Football Team (76.6).
— PFF (@PFF) January 6, 2021
Browns fullback Andy Janovich and running back Nick Chubb finished as the highest graded pass blocking backs for the 2020 season.
— Sam Penix (@Sam_Penix) January 5, 2021
The addition of rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. helped to solidify the offensive line as well.
Wills finished the year ranked 3rd in all rookies in % of snaps with pressure allowed at 4%.
% of snaps with pressure allowed rookie OTs 2020 per @PFF
Michael Onwenu – 3.1%
Tristan Wirfs – 3.4%
Jedrick Wills- 4%
Robert Hunt- 5.5%
Mekhi Becton- 5.9%
Austin Jackson- 7.5%
Terence Steele- 8.1%
— Rz22 (@Rz2219) January 6, 2021
But, the biggest surprise of the 2020 season on the offensive line was Wyatt Teller.
Wyatt Teller really blocked three dudes on this play 😱 @Browns
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 23, 2020
Teller was dominant all season and finished the season as the league’s highest-ranked guard.
Highest-graded OL of 2020:
1. Wyatt Teller (G) – 93.8
2. Trent Williams (T) – 92.1
3. David Bakhtiari (T) – 91.8
4. Zack Martin (G) – 91.3 pic.twitter.com/05JhPzIZpO
— PFF (@PFF) December 30, 2020
The offensive line improvement led to a big improvement for QB Baker Mayfield in 2020 as well.
Mayfield finished 2019 with a QBR of 78.8 while throwing for 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
In 2020 Mayfield finished with a QBR of 95.9 throwing for 26 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
Nick Chubb also finished the season with over 1,000 yards rushing at 5.6 yards per carry, even though he missed 4 games with injury.
Running back Kareem Hunt was effective as well in gaining over 1,000 all purpose yards in the season out of the backfield.