The Browns ended the preseason 0-4, but the starting unit left 2 of those games with a lead. You have to take your victories where you can get them I guess…
So did you see what I saw? Many of you gave your grades already in the comments of the What to Watch For post. First, I remind you that once again we were without several key starters, especially on offense. I did see improvement in the unit from last game, which is a good sign. Second, and if there are any Chicago fans regularly reading you have my apologies; that was not a good football team we played. Easily the worst team we saw this preseason. Even when it was starters on semi-starters. No wonder Urlacher and Briggs want out of there. That offense is pathetic. Who scares you there? Absolutely nobody, well unless you are a Bears fan. Let’s get to it…
The Right Side Of The Offensive Line
Ok, specifically Fraley and Hadnot. With Ryan Tucker’s status for Dallas still up in the air, we need to see improvement from you two. Everyone with a keyboard and internet access has written about how you are the weak point in the line. Time to step up if you can. We’re beginning to think the Dolphins got rid of you for a reason Rex.
I am re-writing this portion. I’m doing it because I went back and watched the first two possessions again. I’d recommends it if you have the game recorded. The O-line demolished the Bears defense in those two drives. Before Hadnot’s injury, the Browns ran the ball 8 times for 53 yards. They got another 13 yards on screen passes. Hadnot pulled twice and was very effective. He blocked Urlacher on at least two plays, keeping the pro-bowl LB from sniffing the ball both times. On one screen Rex got a little twisted around and didn’t get a block, but other than that play he was perfect. On one pass play he slid off a double team to pick up an end that had gotten away from Schaffer. The Browns weren’t able to punch the ball in the end zone over McKinney and Schaffer, setting up the Harrison misdirection option play.
Here’s what I wrote before the Giants game-
With the attention that Shaun Rogers has been getting, and the limited playing time of Williams in camp, we really haven’t gotten a good read on Cleveland’s newest DE. The Giants have an above average offensive line, and I would like to see what Williams can do.
Guess what? We still haven’t seen what Williams can do. We’ve seen what he can’t do, which is chase down Jon Kitna. I thought you were a lot quicker than that last year Corey, is the injury still slowing you down?
Yeah, still didn’t get a great game from Williams. By the way, that was not Williams that pressured Orton on the interception. It was R. Smith and Alex Hall. Williams had one tackle. I don’t know. The front 3 are doing a much, much better job so far than we’ve seen out of Crennel’s defenses, but wow is there a drop off when the starters are resting.
Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald
This is the worst group of receivers you have faced so far. That’s saying something, considering all the injuries the Giants had, but Chicago’s WR corps is terrible. And they have the worst QB duo in the league. Please don’t get beat tonight. And how about creating a turnover?
On cue. Now, that interception was created more by the pressure and the fact that it was Kyle Orton than anything McDonald did, but a pick is a pick. Did they throw at Eric Wright at all? I didn’t catch it if they did. So you can take that one of three ways, either Wright had good coverage, they were targeting McDonald, or the Bears WR’s are even worse than we thought. (Go ahead and choose for yourself. I’m keeping my choice secret. I’ve picked on the Bears enough today.) Many are praising McDonald today for his play. There was a third down play that McDonald was beaten on, but the pass was out of bounds and the Bears had to punt. McDonald of course celebrated as if he caused the incompletion, even though he was still five yards away when the receiver dove out of bounds.
I have to mention something that the OBR’s John Taylor wrote about the group backing up Wright and McDonald. It was spot on-
If the Browns think they can go through the entire sixteen-game slate with the refuse behind the starters in the secondary, they are seriously and, possibly, fatally deluding themselves. Once you get past Eric Wright, Brandon McDonald, Sean Jones and Brodney Pool, there’s nothing but pabulum as far as the eye can see. This is not the Ellis Island of the NFL. Don’t give me your poor and tired huddled masses of crap in the secondary. We don’t want any wretched masses anywhere near our teeming sidelines. Let the tempest keep tossing ‘em far away from Berea. Just slam that golden door, Browns, and snuff out whatever porous flame is flickering in the lamp.
Now I think a little more of Mike Adams than Taylor does I suppose, but the rest of these CB’s are just terrible.
Will The #3 Receiver Please Stand Up?
Someone, anyone please take this job. I don’t think that this position is vital to the success of the team, as there are plenty of options and weapons if all are healthy, but this is getting ridiculous. I find it interesting that a guy (Travis Wilson) is so close to either being a starter or cut completely.
Immediately following the game Scott asked if the drop hurt Wilson’s chances of making the team. Well, it’s not that one particular drop. It’s that he drops 2 of those a week in practice, and 1 every game. The third WR is supposed to be the possession guy. He is the third down and 4, run a five yard hook route and get hammered over the middle WR. When he drops a pass, we punt. Think Brian Brennan. If I’m Crennel or Savage, Travis Wilson is shown the door, before he drops a pass in a game that could send us to the playoffs.
Better Line Backer Play
I’m looking at you Wimbley. Do something. Make some plays while you are in there. Stop over-pursuing and attack the ball under control. If you can’t make tackles someone else can. (That’s what we tell our junior high team, why should pros be any different?)
I don’t understand why this isn’t a bigger deal with the local media. Wimbley was a complete non-factor in that game. No tackles. No pressure on the QB. D’Qwell Jackson was the linebacker over pursuing in this one, allowing a big gain from a RB. How many guys had a shot at Forte on the middle screen in the Bears first possession? You remember the play, it was 3rd and 17. Even Bernie said “usually in the preseason this is a screen pass situation.” Come on! It ended up not hurting us because the interception came on the next play. Where were the LBs on that screen? Why couldn’t we get a sack on that team? The D-Line is doing their job, but these LBs are beginning to annoy me.
Please No More Injuries
Nuff said. Now go win a game!
Yeah, well double fail there. Hopefully Steptoe, Hadnot, Dinkins and all the other walking wounded will be better.
Photo credit- The OBR.