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Monthly Archives: September 2015

Yet Another Loss Breakdown – Browns vs. Raiders

Yet Another Loss Breakdown – Browns vs. Raiders

Review of Raiders @ Browns – Game #2 

What’s that? Another embarrassing performance by the Cleveland Browns against an inferior performance? You better believe it. Turnovers, not stopping the run, and sloppy play did in a team that did not play up to what they should have. I’m pretty embarrassed at their play, and now they face a tough seven game stretch. Let’s review the poor play.

Offense:

Quarterback – I am confident in stating that the Josh McCown experiment is nearing a close. The veteran signal caller was brutal in stepping up in the pocking, avoiding the rush, and hitting his targets. He only hit Brian Hartline and Gary Barnidge in situations and scored only when the team was down but quite a bit. Put in Johnny for the next game, but I fear the coaching staff won’t agree with me for quite some time.

Running Back – This unit failed to improve upon their performance last contest. Isaiah Crowell had a nice scamper to the one-yard line, then the Browns settled for a field goal. That was pretty much all you needed to know; it was a depressing output by the rushing attack. Duke Johnson made a few nice plays, but it was not enough to be content with position group.

Wide Receiver – Not hitting Travis Benjamin on the deeper routes was the downside for the wide outs. He made a few nice grabs, but the receivers did not distinguish themselves in this matchup. I was happy to see Brian Hartline made a few nice catches (especially during third down), but that was not good enough to make me feel good about targets for the signal caller.

Tight End – Outside of Gary Barnidge, the tight end spot was invisible and rather disappointing. The veteran had a score and several nice grabs for the team, however none of the other tight ends could produce on Sunday. I am still looking for E.J. Bibbs to emerge as a reliable option for this group, but the coaching staff still wants Rob Housler to play.

Offensive Line – The continued improvement that I was hoping for did not happen for the guys upfront. I suppose they were ok in opening up holes for Isaiah Crowell, but they did not give Josh McCown plenty of time to throw (especially in the first half). I do not know what it’s going to take to get these guys back on track, but the Browns better fix it soon.

Defense:

Defensive Line – Putting zero pressure on the opposing signal caller will not get you wins in the NFL – I do not care if you are facing Peyton Manning or JaMarcus Russell. For the second time in three weeks, the Browns front three did not breathe on the opponent and it cost them dearly. I guess Armonty Bryant and Randy Starks made a few nice plays in this contest, but surrendering yet another rusher over 100 yards simply is not going to cut it.

Linebacker – Thirteen more games until Barkevious Mingo will no longer roam these sidelines. The former first round draft choice has been a huge bust and has not nearly lived up to his capabilities. I feel back for Paul Kruger, as he is the only guy who can make an impact on the edge. If Craig Robertson is injured for some time, I worry about the depth in the middle. Kirksey and Dansby are fine athletes but not shut down stars.

Secondary – Amari Cooper simply punked Joe Haden in this contest – the rookie got separation and embarrassed the veteran cornerback. Donte Whitner was not good either, and he appeared to be a step slow when in coverage. I am disappointed in the play of Tashaun Gipson – the free safety has not recovered from his injury last season. The only guy who is reliable (at this point) in the secondary appears to be Trammon Williams – maybe Jim O’Neil should put him against the number one wide out going forward.

Special Teams: Let’s look at the positives, Andy Lee is a solid punter and Travis Benjamin should still be a reliable punt returner. Travis Coons appears to have been the right choice at kicker as well. Let’s face it, the Browns did not lose this game due to poor special teams – hopefully they are able to be the reason for a win down the line.

Coaching: Keep Josh McCown at the helm is just delaying the inevitable. Mike Pettine must know that the veteran does not give the team the best opportunity to win an NFL game. Can Johnny Manziel be the guy going forward? Who knows, but the coaching staff has got to find out what they have with the first round draft pick. It will likely happen in a few weeks, but Browns’ fans are impatient (and deservedly so).

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Posted by on September 27, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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A Glance into Game #3 – Raiders @ Browns

A Glance into Game #3 – Raiders @ Browns

Raiders @ Browns – Game #3 Preview

It’s not every week that both the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders are coming off victories; however that is the case headed into the third week of the 2015 season.  Getting off to a 2 – 1 start is huge for both of these clubs – and will give them an edge at the playoffs (provided many wins follow this Sunday).  There will be a few critical factors in this matchup that can decide the outcome, like last week I hope they go the Browns’ way.  For a further look at the game, below is the breakdown.

Offense

Quarterback:  Johnny Manziel made great strides last week and capped off an efficient contest with an excellent score down the field.  For that reason, I want to see him under center this Sunday – but it appears that the coaching staff might feel otherwise.  Regardless of who is the signal caller, the game plan looks to be the same.  Get an early lead, primarily run the ball, pass when you have to, and prevent any turnovers.  This matchup is another game where the Browns can win with this formula; it all comes down to execution.

Running Back:  Was last week a mirage, or a sign of greater things to come?  I would like to think the latter, as both Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson got the ground game going.  They have still yet to break out on that long run, or consistently pick up large chunks of yards – but growth was evident last week.  I envision this will continue against the Raiders, including another score by one of the backs.  A rusher in this game will lose a turnover, but he will be donning the silver and black.

Wide Receiver:  It’s all but a given that Travis Benjamin will be game planned against going forward.  The speedster has accounted for all receiving touchdowns for the team in the first two weeks; now opponents will make sure they do not get beat deep.  Taylor Gabriel, Andrew Hawkins, and Brian Hartline are the next three in line to garner receptions in this offense.  As of now, they have not done anything to prove they can be trusted though.  That must change on Sunday, if the Browns expect to come out ahead.  The veterans have a chance to prove Ray Farmer correct in implying that this unit was good enough to forgo a wide out in the early rounds of the 2015 draft.

Tight End:  If Gary Barnidge can make a huge grab or two like he did against the Titans, I will feel pretty good about the tight end group. There were some fine blocks by Jim Dray – but other than that, these guys are pretty much invisible.  Is it time to see E.J. Bibbs?  I think so; Rob Housler has not done one thing to warrant playing time
over the undrafted rookie, and I feel the younger guy can catch and run better than his veteran counterpart.  Maybe the coaching staff is waiting to unleash this apparent wildcard?

Offensive Line:  Unfortunately, it looks like Alex Mack is still not where was athletically before his broken leg (in 2014).  The result is an underachieving offensive line, but improvement is still not out of the cards.  I am confident in this team’s pass protection, as the quarterback’s evasiveness has assisted with that part of the offense.
The run blocking has been lacking, but looked well against the Titans – the jumbo packages with Cameron Erving might be the trick in making holes for runners to go through.

Defense

Defensive Line:  From zero to seven sacks in one week, what a difference consistent pressure makes!  Jamie Meder, John Hughes, and Randy Starks all got into the action a week ago.  The eight hundred pound elephant in the room continues to be the run defense and its inability to stop opponents.  Latavius Murray is no slouch, and can make life frustrating for Jim O’Neil and the Browns’ defenders if their offensive line provides alleys to run through.  I predict this is the week where they put it all together, funneling the opposition to the middle of the field where Danny Shelton can work his magic.

Linebacker:  During Scott Solomon’s loss of playing time from his injured ankle, another athlete would have to fill in opposite Paul Kruger at outside linebacker.  With Barkevious Mingo displaying his usual lackluster ability, Armonty Bryant came out on top.  The veteran crashed on the edge pretty well and looked like a viable starter in
this defense.  His transition from defensive line to linebacker is far from complete, but if last week is any indication – I am all for him getting a majority of reps on Sunday.  On the inside, it is status quo (once again) for the trio of linebackers.  They continue to be a strength of this defense, now they need a few of those impactful plays.

Secondary:  Overall the unit has grown, but the secondary is still a ways from there they would like to be.  Joe Haden recovered a fumble, while Trammon Williams was stout in coverage all game long.  However, the opposing tight ends were playing pitch and catch with the quarterback at will.  That cannot occur on a weekly basis, otherwise games could get ugly.  Tashaun Gipson needs to return to his 2014 form of jumping routes and taking interceptions back for many yards.  I thought K’Waun Williams held his own last contest – he will be expected to step up against a wide receiving corps that features Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.

Special Teams:  Not a lot to complain about here – the kicking and coverage units have been solid while the return games have been excellent.  Winning in this matchup could be the decider between a win and a loss, and I like the Browns in the special teams’ battle.

Coaching:  I would expect a similar blueprint to last week by both the Browns’ offensive and defensive coaching staffs.  Maintain a lead and play conservatively, with the quarterback making some throws here and there.  Meanwhile, the defense will be relentless and will make Derek Carr nervous on every drop back.

Prediction (My Record: 0 – 2):  Well, I have been wrong so far – and would love to pick against the Browns every week (assuming they can always prove me wrong).  However, with the Raiders traveling east and coming off a huge win over the Ravens – I see a big letdown and do see the Browns actually winning 27 – 17.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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Good Win for the Browns – Game 2 Recap

Good Win for the Browns – Game 2 Recap

Review of Titans @ Browns – Game #2 

Well, the Browns got out-gained by the rush and the pass and lost the time of possession battle – however there was more to the story. The home team played mistake-free football and came away with a huge win. It was up-and-down for the Browns, but they made the plays when it mattered most. Let’s review what 

Offense:

Quarterback – The coaching staff put Johnny Manziel in a spot to only toss shorter throws with a greater percentage of a completion. The second-year pro pretty much executed that game plan well, going eight of fifteen passes for 172 yards – toss in some timely deep touchdowns, and it was a solid outing. I don’t know if he will start next week, but he continues to display improvement.

Running Back – I was extremely glad to witness Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson finally resembles viable running backs this season. The duo combined to eclipse the one hundred mark on the ground, while Crowell’s touchdown was exceptional for the orange and brown offense. If they can keep it up, then the odds for this offense will be much greater. 

Wide Receiver – It was Travis Benjamin and that’s about it for the wide receiver corps. On Sunday, that was all home team needed in the passing game, as his two deep scores was the difference in the score. Andrew Hawkins also had three receptions, but totaled just forty-three yards. I look forward to seeing Brian Hartline contribute more in the passing game beginning next week.

Tight End – Gary Barnidge’s lone reception was the only bright spot for the tight end group – as least in the passing game. I recall seeing a couple of great blocks on the edge by Jim Dray, but that’s not going to be on any highlight reel. Hopefully this unit can make it easy on the quarterback by securing multiple grabs and moving the sticks regularly.

Offensive Line – I think the five guys (and sometimes six) upfront finally got a push. The Browns’ line finally paved the way for the running backs, while keeping the guy under center clean during drop backs. This appears to be the starting point of improvement by this group, should they get back to where they were in the middle of last season – then the sky is the limit for the offense.

Defense:

Defensive Line – Sacks, hits on the quarterback, and a fumble recovery? The Browns’ defensive line appears to have turned a corner. Many guys contributed to this game, not just rookie Danny Shelton. I was really glad Jamie Meder and Randy Starks get it going – whether being a younger athlete or an aging veteran, the team needs all hands on deck.

Linebacker – As far as impact is concerned, the guys in the middle were more impactful for the home team’s defense. Karlos Dansby and Craig Robertson tallied to most and fourth most tackles with the team, while Chris Kirksey made some plays as well. I was a bit disappointed by Barkevious Mingo (a whiff on Mariota in the open field) – maybe things can change next week though. It would have been nice to see a guy in this unit actually cover a tight end, but they apparently refused to (maybe next week?)

Secondary – Joe Haden definitely bounced back from the season opener, as the veteran was always around the football and made a great fumble recovery. Tramon Williams looked like a viable starter as well in this matchup. Personally, I would have liked to see the safeties a bit more active in this contest (outside of a few stops by Donte Whitner). Perhaps they will be included more in the defensive game plan next week.

Special Teams: A punt return touchdown, several great punts, and great coverage – I would say the Cleveland Browns won the special teams battle. This type of domination should not be expected every week, but it was very great on Sunday. Just keep it up and there will be no complaints.

Coaching: This was a solid game plan by both sides of the ball. John DeFilippo limited Manziel’s passes and potential for a mistake, while Jim O’Neil put pressure on Marcus Mariota. Both worked out well and the Browns got to a 1 – 1 record. This was a great win, but the team still has miles to go to be great.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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Titans @ Browns – Previewing Game #2

Titans @ Browns – Previewing Game #2

A Glance into Game #2 – Titans @ Browns

Following their annual opening day loss (which is now an NFL record of eleven consecutive), the Browns get to play their first home game of the season. It would once again appear that this is a very winnable contest for the orange and brown against a rookie signal caller. However, they made Ryan Fitzpatrick look like a Hall of Famer in the opener. I expect the team to display some improvement; will it be enough to secure their first win?

Offense: 

Quarterback – As of now, it looks like Johnny Manziel is in line to get the nod under center (while Josh McCown recovers from his concussion). I actually felt a little bit of confidence in the little guy last contest; that was never the case in 2014. He still had severe issues with controlling the ball – hopefully the Jets’ game was the first step towards his improved pocket awareness. I expect one touchdown and just one turnover by the second year pro.

Running Back – I am mystified and really don’t know what to make out of the Browns’ rushing attack (and I use that term loosely). In the chicken-or-egg debate, neither the offensive line nor running backs are doing their jobs effectively during running attempts. I am not sure what’s it going to take for Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson to get it going, but the team might want to figure that out – and soon. 

Wide Receiver – Is Travis Benjamin becoming the number one wide out for this team? It would appear so, as the veteran had a solid exhibition season and carried that over thus far by leading the team in receiving yards (including the team’s only touchdown). Obviously he is not a guy who should be used in jump ball situations, but utilizing his speed is his strong suit. I would not be surprised if either Taylor Gabriel or Andrew Hawkins had a few grabs in this matchup.

Tight End – This position group was pretty much invisible in New Jersey, and that will likely be a running theme all season long. Rookie E.J. Bibbs looks like he can bring something to the table; once he is ready for regular season football. I hope that time comes soon – I want to see multiple downfield attempts (and completions) to the tight ends. Who knows, maybe this unit can even become a reliable red zone threat.

Offensive Line – Could Cameron Erving be the difference in transforming the gang upfront from an underachieving one to one of the better lines in the league? It’s unlikely, as pretty much all five guys have struggled at one point or another. The coaching staff needs to do whatever it takes to witness success. Perhaps more three-step drops could replace rushing attempts and problematic run blocking. 

Defense: 

Defensive Line – Stopping the run has been something that has evaded the Cleveland Browns for some time, and I would be surprised if that did not continue. Sunday “Words into action” has been the mantra from Mike Pettine about this team, and they have not lived up to this (at least in the run stuffing department). I would love to see the starters dominate at the point of attack and make it hard for Bishop Sankey to move down the field – but they cannot have a performance like they did in the second half of last contest.

Linebacker – This part of the roster was up there for biggest disappointment in the season opener. Sure there were a couple of nice plays, but the defense generated zero pass rush and could not corral rushers closer to the line of scrimmage. Scott Solomon’s ankle injury didn’t help either – will Barkevious Mingo start to resemble the first round pick that many had hoped? Confusion for the Titans’ offense must begin and end with the Browns’ linebackers; I expect a couple of sacks and turnovers. 

Secondary – I think Joe Haden would be the first guy to tell you that he underachieved last week. He will have a bounce back performance at home, while the other guys should continue to excel as well. Tashun Gipson admitted being stripped after his interception lingered with him the rest of the contest; if he wants to secure that long-term deal he’s got to be stronger physically and mentally. Some interceptions off a rookie quarterback would be a welcomed sight for this team.

Special Teams: Knock on wood, but the special teams have been a solid part of this roster. I have no questions about Andy Lee and Travis Coons doing their jobs exceptionally . Who knows, maybe we will even see a few nice returns by the Browns as well (hopefully there are more punt returns and less kickoff returns).

Coaching: Granted the offensive game plan was pretty much thrown out after the McCown injury last week, but the coaching staff did their best to adjust to Manziel under center. I would like to see this be further reinforced, in addition to reducing the potential of a costly turnover. Defensively, it’s all about the blitz – the Browns need to come hard and often towards Marcus Mariota. I have a feeling he can come back to Earth following his great opener.

Prediction (My Record 0 – 1): I have no idea what to think about this outcome. I believe the Browns will be much better than what they showed in the season opener. However, the Titans looked great – and that is enough to pick them to win this game by the score of 19 – 16.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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The Browns lose another opener – call me not surprised

The Browns lose another opener – call me not surprised

Review of Browns @ Jets – Game #1 

Another opening game for the Browns and yet another loss for the orange and brown. It was a gruesome performance, and being there I wish I did not have to witness that performance. Let’s remember the debauchery that ensued in New Jersey.

Offense:

Quarterback – Ever since Josh McCown decided to be a hero and dive like a helicopter – across the goal line, the offense was not the same. The signal caller got hurt (leading to a concussion) and then Johnny Manziel came into to toss a touchdown, an interception, and fumbled twice. This type of performance was not the kind of winning way that is needed by signal callers. Thirteen of twenty-four is not bad passing statistics, but turning the ball over is unacceptable.

Running Back – Well Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson combined for forty-two yards, and both quarterbacks led the team in rushing. This part of the roster really needed to step up and that was simply not the case in this contest. Hopefully the Browns can get back on track next week, but time will tell.

Wide Receiver – One long grab and run for Travis Benjamin was pretty much it for this wide receiving unit. His long touchdown (fifty-four yards) was a thing of beauty, but that was it for the team. Brian Hartline secured two nice grabs, I would have liked to see more plays by the veteran – but that was not in the cards for the team.

Tight End – I suppose Gary Barnidge played well at tight end. He had three receptions for thirty-eight yards, but had a key drop on third down (leading to a punt). I thought the Browns had the edge going into this contest – in regards to the tight end matchup. However, the away squad could not muster any more than one reception for thirteen yards, and the Browns lost this battle once again.

Offensive Line – Multiple false start penalties, issues with pass blocking, and not opening alleys for Crowell and Johnson – that was the summary for the Cleveland Browns’ offensive line. I don’t expect them to be completely dominant in this contest – however there was much more they could have done to excel in this game.

Defense:

Defensive Line – The guys upfront did not really do anything spectacular against the Jets. They surrendered 154 yards on the ground and could not win at the point of attack. Hopefully Randy Starks and Desmond Bryant will do a better job at funneling the action towards the middle of the field. I liked what rookie Danny Shelton did, perhaps he can continue this going forward.

Linebacker – The guys on the outside were expected to make their mark for the Browns. Yet Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo were pretty much invisible in this game, unfortunately for the Browns. They could not get to Ryan Fitzpatrick at all, and that was their Achilles heel. The trio in the middle was not much better either, which was a bit surprising by this unit. I expect them to pick it up next week – but they were miles away from where I wanted them to play.

Secondary – Tashaun Gipson committed the best and worst play of the game. His interception and strip by Brandon Marshall was a huge momentum changer – which cost the Browns greatly in this contest. Neither cornerback stood out, and Donte Whitner was far from great as well. I want to see the Browns’ secondary be exceptional going forward – but I am a bit concerned that will occur.

Special Teams: Andy Lee is good – so there’s that. Having two punts averaging over sixty yards is exceptional, but he’s just a cog in the Browns’ big wheel. Travis Coons belted a field goal and a long extra point; I suppose that is a bonus for the team.

Coaching: It’s hard to say whether Mike Pettine made good coaching decisions in this contest. The lack of execution by the offense and defense really made it hard for him to look smart. Oh well, this game is over and it’s on to the next game.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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NFL Season Opener – Browns @ Jets Preview

NFL Season Opener – Browns @ Jets Preview

Preview of Browns @ Jets – Game #1 

After many months of waiting, the 2015 NFL regular season is finally here! I’m not going to display the Browns’ opening day record since re-joining the league in 1999, but let’s just say it is not good. However, this year features another winnable contest for the orange and brown. Let’s take a look into the contest in New Jersey.

Offense 

Quarterback – Josh McCown had a bad exhibition game (Bills), a good one (Buccaneers), and a decent one (Redskins). All of those do not matter once the regular season starts, however. I anticipate him to be on the lower end of risk-taking, which might excite Browns’ fans. Still a few lengthy tosses should be expected – McCown just make sure to drop them in where only his teammates can catch them.

Running Back – Will Duke Johnson be available in this contest? He will provide the Jets’ coaching staff with something extra to game play for. However, if he does not recover from his concussion yet – I have faith that Isaiah Crowell can earn those tough yards between the tackles. Granted, the Jets have a formidable defensive front – but I have a feeling that the best is yet to come for the Browns’ backs. 

Wide Receiver – Here is the wildcard spot for the away squad. Expectations appear to be low (at least listening to the media), but should this unit perform to their capabilities; they can tip the scales towards a victory. Travis Benjamin and Taylor Gabriel ought to continue with their under and drag routes, while Brian Hartline remains a possession receiver and a touchdown threat in the red zone. I foresee one or two scores from this group on Sunday.

Tight End – Making the tough catch in traffic and picking up key first downs is where my expectations lie for the team’s tight ends. Gary Barnidge always seems to come up with a huge grab, and this contest should be no different for the veteran. There might be one huge block by Jim Dray or a great play by Rob Housler in this game as well. 

Offensive Line – I hope the unit upfront picked their game up during this week of practice. They were a far cry from the guys who paved wide alleys and gave the quarterback time to throw last season. I anticipate they will not be that good yet, but will improve from their display in the preseason. As usual, the right side of the line will get the most attention – call it homerism, but I expect John Greco and Mitchell Schwartz to get it done.

Defense:

Defensive Line – It’s finally put-up-or-shut-up time for the Browns’ defensive line. Are they actually improved at stopping the run, or are they just as miserable as they were last season? A steady improvement should occur on a weekly basis; they will not be great but not horrific either on Sunday (Chris Ivory and Zac Stacy totaling just under 100 rushing yards combined). I look for leadership on the edge by veterans Randy Starks and Desmond Bryant.

Linebackers – I really hope that Scott Solomon can be a trusted outside linebacker opposite of Paul Kruger. Besides being the guy who sets the edge, he will be expected to rush Fitzpatrick on occasions. I’m not as high on him as I used to be, but I hope he proves me wrong. On the inside, the trio is expected to be stout – Kirksey, Robertson, and Dansby should have everything under control. An interception would not be surprising from this position group.

Secondary – We all know that Joe Haden struggles against taller wide receivers. Therefore, I figure Tramon Williams will line up more against Brandon Marshall. That would leave Haden covering Eric Decker – who is no slouch either. As we all know, how well the quarterback can get the ball to his targets is of vital importance. This Browns’ defense should make it difficult (via the rush and coverage) to see consistent completions.

Special Teams: I am pulling for the strong performance of the preseason to carry over for the Browns. Travis Benjamin will likely not have a punt return for a score, but he figures to flip the field a few times. Hopefully Travis Coons can remain perfect, as points are huge in this contest.  Andy Lee will have a prominent role as well.

Coaching: Ground and pound will be the blueprint for Pettine and the Browns’ offense. Should that work early, look for some play-action and longer passes later in the contest.   A completion or two can be a backbreaker for the home squad – but many things have to go right before the coaching staff deviates from a conservative game plan.

Prediction (My Record 0-0): It’s the opener once again, and it’s a winnable contest this season. This game will come down to special teams, limiting mistakes, and converting on third down. I give the Browns the advantage in the first two and the last category is a toss up – that provides enough confidence in giving the team a 24 – 20 win over the Jets.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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Browns vs. Bears – Preseason Game #4 Breakdown

Browns vs. Bears – Preseason Game #4 Breakdown

Analysis of the Final Preseason Game – Browns @ Bears

Well, the exhibition season is over for this year. This game was a tough one to watch – as is all fourth preseason contests. The big cuts are still a little bit away, but let’s remember what happened at Soldier Field.

Offense: 

Quarterback – At least initially, Thaddeus Lewis looked like a seasoned veteran NFL quarterback. He dropped back, scrambled, and even ran for a couple of nice gains. However, his inability to avoid a sack, as well as his lack of ball security might be his demise. There could be worse third string signal callers on this roster, but I don’t know who will fill that role. 

Running Back – Terrance West tried to show he belongs with the first team offense. The second year back toted the ball on multiple carries and looked halfway decent, albeit against guys who might not make the league. I’d give him the nod to stick around simply by his attitude on the field. Shaun Draughn toughed it out, despite having a cast on his hand. The rusher did not have a tremendous output, and his standing with the team remains up in the air. 

Wide Receiver – I really liked what Josh Lenz brought to this contest for the Browns. The wide out had two big catches in the first half and made the most of his opportunities. Darius Jennings may have cost himself a roster spot with his fumble in the second quarter. The undrafted rookie cannot afford those types of mistakes if he wants to be a member on the regular season roster. 

Tight End – And I thought this position group was ignored during last week’s contest. Rob Housler appeared to be the only tight end on the field in the first half and was not targeted by Lewis. It might be a coin toss between the veteran and rookie E.J. Bibbs as to whom will be the third tight end – my money’s on the youngster. 

Offensive Line – This was a chance for the reserve linemen to show they can step up and be viable replacements for starters this season. However, the elusive signal caller still had to run around and avoid rushers – as the guys upfront had troubles blocking their counterparts. I’m looking for a veteran or two linemen to be added in the coming days for this team.

Defense:

Defensive Line – Outside of a few nice stops by Billy Winn, the defensive line was not very active in this matchup. This is good news, as Winn is fighting for a job on this roster – however his play in this game might not be enough. I still anticipate to see Jamie Meder make this final squad.

Linebackers – This contest further reinforced the point that Tank Carder is nothing more than a special teamer. The longtime veteran could not set the edge against runs and was nowhere near David Fales on drop backs. Hayes Pullard was rather disappointing as well; it will be interesting to see what Ray Farmer decides to do with this unit.

Secondary – With so many guys not playing for the Browns’ secondary – I will have trouble analyzing this unit. Let’s face it, Mike Reilly and Joe Rankin are not going to be on this final roster. I wish them the best, but that is the truth. Ibraheim Campbell made some nice stops, I expect him to continue to progress towards a nice special teams / reserve role early on this year.

Special Teams: Travis Coons won the starting kicker job (apparently) and Andy Lee is the punter. Other than that, there’s not much to say about this unit. I hope they excel tremendously next week.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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