Who caught your eye? Did someone stand out? Who blew it? That’s what were interested in this morning. Winners and losers.
The Browns hit the field Sunday, which means one of my favorite weekly features is back. That’s right it is time for another Monday morning round of Winners and Losers. You know the routine. I will give you a head start with a few of my winners and losers from yesterday, and you get to chime in with yours.
WINNER: Desmond Bryant. Bryant was slowed with back spasms throughout training camp and the preseason. You wouldn’t know it from his performance Sunday. Bryant had a pair of sacks and provided pressure on several other plays. He doesn’t just get ‘winner’ status based on his play against the pass though. He was also very good against the rush as well. Speaking of that…
WINNER: The defensive front. I did not see that kind of performance against the run coming. The Dolphins gained 20 yards on the ground in 23 attempts. Take out the two kneel-downs and they still averaged less than a yard per carry. The longest rush of the day for Miami was five yards. Inside or outside the Browns just ate the rush up.
I sat next to a Dolphins beat writer and asked if this was more on the Browns being stout or the Dolphins being terrible. He said that the Dolphins have major issues on the offensive line (which was obvious yesterday) but that the Browns looked impressive. So I’ll chalk it up to both units being less impressive/ugly than they looked yesterday. Still, a great performance against the run by the Browns.
LOSER: Buster Skrine. Sigh. One of the biggest areas of concern for the Browns coming out of last season was the secondary, and in particular the cornerback spot opposite Joe Haden. The Dolphins picked on Skrine and Chris Owens all day. Buster spent the majority of the day (from memory) lined up against Brian Hartline who finished the game with nine catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. Skrine also interfered with Hartline on a pass in the end zone because he was beat for what would have been another score.
LOSER: Common sense. Everyone knows how many carries Trent Richardson had yesterday. That’s rarely a good thing. It signals that there was a disconnect between the most talented player on the offense and how effectively he was used. Richardson averaged 3.6 yards with his 13 carries. I would point out that Richardson had 24 yards on his first three carries, and the bulk of those were on pitches outside. He was less effective up the middle and pretty much shut down in the second half, when he had five carries for 14 yards. Regardless, you have to find a way to get him the ball.
The other glaring issue was on the right side of the line. In the fourth quarter, Cameron Wake was lined up so far outside that Mitchell Schwartz had no shot at getting to him. We’ve seen Schwartz struggle against this wide nine technique before (think last season’s opener against Philadelphia). The Browns had to do something to counter that. Nothing they tried worked. Maybe a couple of screen passes to his side? With say, your best weapon Trent Richardson? Oniel Cousins… I don’t even have the stomach to talk about that this morning.
I’ve got plenty more winners and losers of my own, but it’s your turn now. As a special twist this week, my favorite take gets a Browns shirt from GV Art and Design. I’ve got a specific aspect of one player’s performance that will get you the shirt if you can think of it. Make ‘em good.