April 23, 2014

Browns Preseason Game #2: Winners and Losers

Who caught your eye? Did someone stand out? Who blew it? That’s what were interested in this morning. Winners and losers.

It might be pretty tough to say anyone in a Browns uniform was a loser last night. Generally, the team accomplished it’s goals in the game.

I’ll start it off, you finish it.

WINNER: Montario Hardesty. Everyone in Cleveland had to be thinking the same thing when Montario coughed the ball up on the first offensive play- “Here we go again.” But Hardesty put that carry behind him and ran well all game long. He didn’t break anything open, his longest run was nine yards, but he was solid and averaged just under four yards a carry. He also found the end zone on a one yard run on first down. Much better than in the past when we’ve struggled on first and second down to punch the ball over the line.

LOSER: Chris Ogbonnaya. I say this not because he performed poorly, but because he really didn’t get a chance, and Adonis Thomas had a shot to impress. When it comes down to that last spot on the roster, did Thomas do enough to give the team a reason to keep him over Ogbonnaya? He did have a nice kick return in addition to his 38 yards rushing.

WINNER: Emmanuel Stephens. With Marcus Benard back and playing well last night, I think Stephens had to do something to make people take notice of him. Mission accomplished. I will caution that we should take the success of the defense last night with a grain of salt. Pitiful offense from Green Bay after Rodgers left the game.

WINNER: Greg Little. Despite his drop, Little finally showed up. He was non-existent in the first preseason game, and really hasn’t made much noise in camp. This was a nice performance from him.

WINNER: Ronnie Cameron. Picked off of waivers just a couple days ago, the undrafted rookie had a nice game while he was in there. He has a real chance to make the team with our depth issues, and nothing from that game film will deter the coaching staff.

Alright. Who were your winners and losers?

  • cmm13

    Winner: Defensive line, despite playing the worst GB offense I’ve ever seen they showed up and stopped the run.
    Winner: Phil Dawson, duh.
    Winner: Trevin Wade, had solid coverage and didn’t get burned.
    Winner: Sheldon Brown, his name has been called twice for highlights this preseason and for the RIGHT reasons.
    Winner: Colt McCoy, let a TD drive and solidified himself as a legit NFL backup…er, i guess he’s a winner.
    Loser: Jordan Norwood, I say this one because he seemed to be the odd man out while Cribbs was allowed more shots at WR. This, i do not like.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    GB wasn’t even vanilla on offense they were more like chalk. Also GB didn’t have any RBs which is why they just signed Cedric Benson.

    Dawson is a beast the only guy I’d consider drafting for my fantasy football team! Can you say franchise player again?

    I wasn’t impressed by Little at all. For a guy with his size he should be catching passes left and right instead he shows he’s a 50/50 proposition to make a reception. I didn’t see anything I mean anything out of Cribbs and Evan Moore still can’t see the field despite no Watson and no Cameron. I think it’s clear Moore’s days are numbered which makes me sad.

  • mgbode

    Winner: Fort – made a solid case that he’s our backup MLB. After the Jacobs disaster last week, it was needed.

    Winner: Our entire secondary. That was a tough assignment and they covered it well.

    Winner: the Browns LOS battles. other than a few pass blocking issues (and a whiff by Pinkston on a pull), we were winning the battle at the LOS. Sure, that’s not exactly GBs strength, but it was still nice to see.

    Winner: Dick Jauron – one of the weaknesses of our defense last year was the lack of creating TOs. Well, how does 6 TOs sound?

    Winner: Colt McCoy – 2 nice efforts in a row to solidify the backup slot and show that he’s been working.

    Winner: Brandon Weeden – not a great game by any measure, but one that was much better than week1. that’s what you need from a rookie, continual improvement.

    Loser: WR corps – missing Benjamin and MoMass, Little and Gordon still underwhelming overall. Really looking disjointed thus far.

  • Clown Baby

    Winner: Craig Robertson – He has a great nose for the ball
    Loser: Weeden – In a system where accurate passing is paramount, he had a hard time hitting anyone in stride. It’s going to be hard to get yards after the catch if he doesn’t improve.

  • deg4

    Winners: Colt McCoy, Trevin Wade (the kid looked like a starter last night), Bert Reed (showed good awareness stretching out for a 1st down, caught another 3rd down pass just past the sticks).

    Losers: Owen Marecic, Josh Cooper, Brandon Jackson

    I think Cooper really missed a shot. Marecic couldn’t find who to block on multiple plays.

  • mgbode

    another winner: NFLN for putting the game on at 2am so I could DVR it and watch this morning.

  • Jaker

    Winner: Trev Wade. Guy was around the ball and making plays, he should not only make the team but also fight Skrine for PT.
    Winner: David Sims/ Craig Robertson. Made some big plays and have a legit argument for a roster spot if they contribute on ST.
    Winner: Eric Hagg. He is our starting Safety.
    Winner: Mitchell Shwartz/ Greg Little. Rebounded well after a poor first game. A much needed boost of confidence.
    Winner: Colt McCoy to Green Bay rumors. Colt owes Graham Harrell a fruit basket for making backup QB open in GB.
    Winner: Browns Fans. I know it’s just preseason, but that was awesome. Today it feels good to be a Browns fan.

    No Losers after last night, there will be plenty of time to complain in the regular season, so for now, we only focus on the positives, because that was awesome.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    STO rebroadcast too last night.

  • Harv 21

    W

    - Weeden: felt the pocket pressure and threw it away when necessary. Mostly hit his receivers on time when they ran decent routes. Has no ability to look off defenders yet, but that’s for next year.

    - Colt: has learned to look off defenders and his arm strength seems slighly improved. Would be an excellent back-up. No idea why so many insist on just dumping him now, since back-up QBs actually end up playing, sometimes a lot.

    - Montario: starting to trust his stuff again.

    - The young cornerbacks: there are some good ones there. This regime can identify college corners like John Hart could scout power hitters.

    - The offensive play calling: that’s how you balance letting your rook QB try some plays and catch his breath in a pre-season game. Very competent.

    L

    - Josh Gordon needs to do nothing but practice comeback routes and sight adjustments the rest of camp. We all know he can release and run a slant. That’s not enough in this system with a raw QB.

    - Schwartz: turn-stiling again at the start of the game. Looked like he later settled down a little but they weren’t running Montario behind him much.

    - TJ Ward: where is the aggressiveness and intimidation from 2010? He’s riding an outdated rep. Needs to show he can balance self-discipline and hard-hitting. If you’re an intimidator, intimidate.

    - JMJ: waiting for the light to go on in a game. Because if not this LB corp will be beyond brutal. A defense can’t rely on a decimated D-line and corner blitzes.

  • Stinkfist

    I can’t remember the exact point in the game which this happened, but I was not the least bit impressed by Weeden’s decision to force a pass which was nearly picked off by Hawk. He had Cribbs wide open on a crossing route AND… Cribbs was nearly as deep as whomever BW3 was targeting. Also, admittedly nitpicky, Weeden slightly underthrew Little on the pass that ended within the 5. Maybe could have been a score if Little didn’t have to turn his torso around to catch it.

  • MrCleaveland

    I’d like to second a few nominations.

    Winner: Fans. No post-game angst, no morning-after blistering on sports talk, no pitchforks and torches mobs demanding mass firings. This just feels nice.

    Loser: Josh Gordon. Come on, man.

    Winner: Phil Dawg-son. I hope this guy makes an all-pro team soon. Who’s better? Nobody.

  • petruzzz927

    Winner (Offense): Montario Hardesty. Hopefully, the offensive strategy that was implemented yesterday is consistent through out the year. Ground and Pound. Just imagine having T-rich as the featured ‘back in those plays. If Montario can stay healthy and if Mitchell Schwartz can shore up the right side of the line, our running attack will be pretty scary.

    Winner (Defense): Trevin Wade. Granted, he played against the Packers 2nd/3rd string offense but he made some great plays. We need more depth in the secondary and hopefully we found a diamond in the rough with the 7th rounder.

    Winner (Special Teams): Phil Dawson. Need I say more?

    Loser: Joe Haden. He was schooled by Jordy Nelson on the same route twice. You can make an argument on the touchdown play but Rodgers under threw the ball.

  • porckchopexpress

    Liked seeng Weeden connect with a pretty over the shoulder to Gordon on 3and1. Its a little thing but one of those plays that the receiver is going get blown up right away,most Browns QBs put that ball low and behind causing the receiver to stop and not make the 1st down.
    Liked the 3rd and long draw call with B Jackson. I guarantee every team the Browns play are going to be aware of that and it should help to take some of the aggressveness out of 3rd down blitzes.
    Greg Little should never by definition be able to fumble the ball. According to the rule a player must make a “football move” for a reception to count. Little has never made a football move in his time with the Browns. Unless you count plowing into the nearest defender a football move.
    I was encouraged by the D but I think in regular season action, the Pack puts 34 on them. They do have a lot of potential among the young corners though.
    Hated the ridiculous penalties. Sloppy does as Sloppy’s coached.
    In the end the only real winner was Ray Ventrone, love that guy

  • cmm13

    That miss by Pinkston was laughable.

  • cmm13

    Agreed on Marecic, I think he sealed his own fate when he failed to spring Jackson twice for the end zone.
    1 play later Smith blocks and they were in.

  • cmm13

    The whole night I found myself having to remind myself… That’s not supposed to be Hardesty, That’s not supposed to be Hardesty.

  • Triradius47
  • Vindictive_Pat

    I’ve been saying that about Little on here for a long time now… where is the YAC? For an uberathlete, he really sucks at picking up yards after he catches the ball. Our best YAC guys are Norwood and Cribbs, and they don’t figure to play that much.

    But I’m not going to harp on negatives too long because there were a lot of good things that happened in last night’s game. Weeden seems to be taking in advice and learning from the coaches… I think we’ll see the improvement out of him over the course of a season that we didn’t see from Colt.

  • BenRM

    I’ll argue this is not factual or is, instead, a misinterpretation of what is actually happening on the field.

  • http://twitter.com/RickWFNY rick grayshock

    I was ready to add MoMass as a loser for last night as well. But then again, what is the point in sending him out there and risking a concussion. You know what he can do when he is on the field.

  • Du

    Winner: Browns QB’s. They just upped the asking price for either Colt or McCoy. I really hope the Browns keep Colt. He is a good kid, who has solid leadership skills and a deep faith. I think he is an excellent team guy and someone who would serve as a great backup to Weeden.

    Loser: Graham Harrell. To say his job is in jeopardy would be an understatement. Does anyone in Green Bay miss Matt Flynn now?

  • Du

    Sorry…meant to say either “Colt or Seneca”.

  • Clown Baby

    Which part? The part where Robertson was all over the field or the part where WRs had to lay out or slow down for almost every Weeden pass? Weeden definitely played better but he needs to get much better.

  • mgbode

    I agree on the decision to not play him. But, man, our WRs have got to play better or it’s going to be ugly when things count.

  • Harv 21

    There was some of that but I think it’s mainly a function of Weeden’s thinking through everything going on around him, thinking through progressions while accounting for defenders and trying to develop an internal clock for pocket pressure. When his receivers were stationary he was hitting them in the numbers, so his aim seems true and clearly he can gun it.

    It’s a hard position. I’m guessing the timing necessary to better hit guys in stride will improve as he plays. There’s going to be underthrows and overthrows and pick 6′s this year, but he has to play in order for it to start slowing down out there. Even Aaron Rogers wasn’t Aaron Rogers as a rookie, and Weeden is probably no Aaron Rogers.

  • Clown Baby

    This offense is going to depend on Weeden’s ability to hit guys in stride and letting them pick up yards after the reception so he needs to make those throws verses the stationary target throws especially since GB was playing so soft.

    I understand that Weeden’s head is still spinning, but that performance against another team, in the regular season isn’t going to get it done. I like Weeden and I would take him over Colt any day. I’m just concerned that the 1st team offense couldn’t put one in the endzone against GB’s second team defense.

  • sgtkickarse

    selfishly I am going to include myself, and all of you guys, as winners. How much better does it feel this morning to wake up and read articles and talk about a Browns win? I know it’s just preseason. And I know there were a lot of little things I hope we can improve on. But man, it feels good today, I am in such a better mood.

    I think Hardesty was probably the big winner considering the fumble on the very first play and probably every single Brown’s fan sensing disaster on the way. He really recovered from that and while he wasn’t spectacular, he did his job.

    I would agree with Josh Gordon being a “loser” from last night, but honestly he was better than last week, and so maybe that makes him a really tiny winner? If he can keep taking small steps forward, by mid to late season, we may know if we have our true “number one WR” for the immediate future or not. I think we do. If he can turn that talent and figure out route running and the little things he needs to improve on.

    Overall, I am just happy with the win last night. I feel way better about the season than I did earlier yesterday. And while I am trying not to read too much into a preseason game, it just feels good.

  • Harv 21

    Agree with you. But while I think Weeden might be competent to run this thing eventually, between being a rookie and not having any receivers experienced in this offense I don’t expect it to happen this year. And btw, GB’s second string defense is probably about as good as the Browns defensive starters Weeden has been facing in camp.

    Bernie had an excellent QB brain and plenty enough arm as a rookie, and had run a pro-style offense to a championship in college. Browns had two(!) 1000 yard rushers that year, they ran constantly to protect Bernie, even in passing downs until he could get his sea legs. The next year, with Lindy Infante’s fancy passing system, he took off. Here’s my point: our impatience does not flatten Weeden’s learning curve, no matter how much we complain.

  • Clown Baby

    My impatience is a known character flaw and in this case exacerbated by the fact that the rookie we are have to patient with is already 28. I just want great improvement verses baby steps so that Weeden is a great QB prior to him drawing Social Security checks.

  • Garry_Owen

    Winner: Team depth (Tom Heckert, by proxy). I can’t believe that we actually have depth at many positions: QB (please, please don’t trade McCoy), WR!!! (if very young), RB for sure, even DL and DB. Our depth is actually starting to resemble something a professional team has.

    Loser: Fans’ expectations. I still don’t think we win more than a small handful of games this year, so I’m not building up too much hope. I hope we collectively aren’t.

  • Garry_Owen

    I like that McCoy kid. Not sold on Colt. Daniel’s got the stuff, though.

  • Garry_Owen

    Ah. Ignore my previous snide remark. Nice catch.

  • mgbode

    I thought we signed Case.

  • mgbode

    don’t ignore mine. that’s comic gold garry, gold.

  • NilesNick

    Loser- Oniel Cousins. If he survives the first cut I’ll be amazed!

  • Harv 21

    :-)

  • dasku

    McCoy and Trevin Wade.

    I honestly think McCoy has the stuff to be a starter somewhere else. I fully expect a team like Jacksonville to pick him up for a third. Not that we want to trade him, but i think he deserves a shot to start. He looks very sharp right now with a few weapons and some protection.

    Wade looks like our bookend to Haden. Maybe premature, but I’ve never seen him out of position on the field.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cb.everett.9 CB Everett

    I don’t think GB misses Flynn as much as people think they do/want them to. A backup QB is a nice insurance policy, but they won’t even have to think twice about it assuming Rodgers doesn’t break a leg. I can’t imagine any sane GM is going to pre emptively give up a 3rd rounder for that insurance policy though

  • mgbode

    look in 2011 to Chicago or Indy or KC to what happens if you don’t have anything at backup QB. or look to Houston if you have an okay option (able to still make playoffs).

    NE spent a 3rd rounder on Mallet. I don’t think he’s supplanting Brady anytime soon.

  • Garry_Owen

    Gilded, maybe. Pewter, certainly.

  • posaunepar

    Browns fans were the overall winners and loser the other night. More precisely, Browns fans were winners and teeny bit losers, whereas season ticket holders were equal amounts of both.

    It may seem like it, but I’m not talking out of both sides of my mouth. As others have posted, the overall performance seems to show this team has improved across the board from last year. Not a lot, but enough, especially in certain key areas, to feel ‘good’ that things are improving. The rushing attack was competent last night, and set up our 1st half scoring. Despite a lot of injuries and still lacking proven LB’s, the defense held its own. Right now, it appears that we are making steady progress. That’s good for all Browns fans.

    What is BAD for all Browns fans, but most especially those in attendance, is the new NFL rule that requires video replay of all scoring plays and turnovers. Right now, attending an NFL game, especially in bad weather, is a terribly frustrating experience. They run a few plays, then stop the action. The worst is the TD or FG after a TV timeout. You just sat on your hands while the nice drive was interrupted. Then the score – time out – kickoff – time out. Now after TD’s it will be TV timeout – score – replay timeout – extra point- timeout – kickoff – timeout. And after FG’s they’ll probably have to stay on live feed pending the review before the TV timeout preceding the kickoff.

    I could not believe how long it took to review Emmanuel Stephens INT return. I timed it. From the whistle that ended the play until the whistle that started the huddle clock was about 5:20! There was nothing in the turnover itself to review. The receiver caught the ball, ran with it for a few steps, had it stripped straight up into the air while he was standing upright (the ball was never less than 5 feet from the ground), picked cleanly, and that was that. OK, they had to take some more time to see if Stephens stepped out of bounds. But gee whiz, it took five minutes to do that?

    Adding insult to injury is that it is now an ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ penalty to throw the red flag on a scoring play or turnover where replay is mandatory. Even more delay to fool around with what shouldn’t be a penalty in the first place.

    The only bright side of this for fans in the stadium is that if your seats are fairly close to the John, you can now sneak in there after a turnover while they review the play, avoid the line and not miss any action.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cb.everett.9 CB Everett

    Drafting a kid fresh out of school is different. NE drafted Mallet to develop the guy (to maybe even take over for Brady in a few years). That high level (2-3 rounders) is common. PHI did it with Kolb. McCoy is a known commodity & been in the league for a couple of years…not the same situation. My point is that if someone does burn a 3rd rounder on him, it’ll be because they’re desperate (injury to starting QB already occurred).

  • CrazyInBerea

    Frankly, I was very happy that BW was hitting people in the body with his passes as opposed to putting them out in front for them to drop or deflect into a defenders hands. I actually think he was doing it on purpose. He’s one of the most accurate passers I’ve ever seen (check out the SportsScience clip)… Until we have sure handed guys that he’s confident in, he should keep doing what he’s doing.

  • jmgatskiejr

    I have to salute you for the Norwood reference. He knows how to get open underneath and make himself available to his QB, as well as keep his feet moving for potential YAC. Every QB needs a guy like that who understands the finer points of getting open at game speed. Weeden needs an experienced, shifty pro like Jordan to look for when the kids either don’t blow away their coverage with athletic ability or simply make rookie route running mistakes.
    Winner: Norwood