There’s no other way to say it than to say that the young guys were overwhelmed yesterday. Trevin Wade got torched. Buster Skrine seemed overmatched and chasing. Eric Hagg played pedestrian when he wasn’t giving up his own touchdown. Look, it’s difficult to lose your top two cornerbacks in between week one and week two of an NFL season.
No matter how much planning you do to miss Joe Haden during a suspension it doesn’t mean you’ll be prepared. People absolutely crush Sheldon Brown, but there’s just no doubting that he’s the man until someone replaces him. Sunday taught us that there’s still some room for the young corners to grow out of his shadow.
None of this is to say that I’m disappointed that the Browns kept Trevin Wade over other players like James Dockery. I liked Dockery too. He played with aggression and spirit while contributing well on special teams. Who knows? Maybe the Browns don’t give up that punt return TD if he’s still on the squad.
The fact is that Wade outplayed everyone else in the pre-season and deserved the roster spot. One bad game after being thrust into duty is not the end of the world for him. Same with Skrine. He’s got unbelievable speed and has taken leaps with every opportunity the Browns have given him since he arrived last year.
The Cincinnati Bengals had a little something to do with it too. One of the plays was a bit broken as Dalton rolled out. Plus, there’s really no shame in getting beaten by A.J. Green on occasion. You can ask the missing man Joe Haden himself about that. Add in the fact that Armon Binn and Andrew Hawkins appear to be quite the weapons and it might not be quite as bad as it looked on Sunday. Consider that Hawkins had 86 yards in game one and appears to be in the elusive Percy Harvin type of mold (assuming he keeps it up of course) and we’ll all feel that much better.
Well, kind of. We’ll only truly feel better if these young guys get better with each opportunity. And even if Sheldon Brown comes back next week, the opportunities should be there. Make no mistake though, even with early struggles, these guys still have potential to be a part of the future of the Cleveland Browns.