August 26, 2014

Cleveland Browns Game One: 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.

WinnersLosers_WFNY

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.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Ugh, Rainey. That idiot managed to get tackled from behind on the 15 yard line. On a kickoff! You need to be running at full speed by the time you hit the 15-yard line, so if somebody manages to run you down from behind at that point, then maybe you need to consider quitting the NFL and getting your realtor’s license.

  • hutch058

    I’m the biggest loser for buying nfl sunday ticket to watch these clowns

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Dawg, seriously?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Based on the way the offense was moving the ball you’d have thought a coach, someone, may have suggested it was better to start from the 20 then take a chance and starting worse. I could see once or twice but Rainey did it every time.

  • Natedawg86

    we would have to be worse than Oakland AND Jacksonville. I don’t see that happening. If we are second worst at least we could get Boyd. OR get a lockdown CB and draft a McCarron, Manziel or Fales in second round

  • Drew

    Winner: The Dolphins fan sitting behind me at the Browns Backers group in Arlington, TX because he didn’t get punched in the throat.
    Loser: Everyone else in the place for feeling like we had just witnessed our children getting kicked square in the crotch..

  • hutch058

    Held on to the ball to long…not very accurate…can’t make plays

  • hutch058

    Agreed, I think that pistol formation looked like it might have some potential, but they abandoned it pretty early

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I can understand that but with this team and it’s horrible history since 1999 they should be doing everything and anything possible to help this team win. I don’t care for agendas. For me there has been nothing but agendas with all of the various people leading this team and it has only made things worse. The only agenda should be winning, sooner rather then later.

    Little will be another blemish on the Tom Heckert awesomeness. He had a few winners but far more losers. Not only that but the moves he made in order to select who he did made it twice as bad.

    As far as Cooper goes I wasn’t slighting him I agree if you can’t catch the ball it doesn’t matter what happens. I was saying he wasn’t a winner largely because he barely played until the very end when someone realized he was in uniform. Same applies to the Gurly kid.

  • Harv 21

    Little and Gordon, for different reasons, are significant blemishes on Heckert’s record. I say this because I’m becoming convinced that Gordon is a terminal knucklehead who won’t avoid a future forced absence from the game. It’s like Heckert needlessly swung for the fences on second round receivers, just wanted to hit the home run at the expense of a reliable, valuable NFL player.

    And while today Cameron is feted, in his third year he is contributing for the first time as a normal pass-catching TE. Not a game warper. Aaron Shea would look about the same in this offense, as would a younger Ben Watson.

  • Natedawg86

    I don’t think it is fair to call him a loser here. First int it was 3-8 from the 40. We don’t have a stud K anymore, so if we tried for 1st and got close, we would not try 50 yd FG. He threw it up, and Benjamin needs to try to run under for the catch. He didn’t lose a jump ball. Second was off Little’s hands, and third was off Cameron’s hands. 289 Yds, 1TD, 1INT is not awful, and will keep you in the game.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    All you had to say was 3 INTs not to mention he still stares down receivers. Of course this isn’t entirely his fault I mean with the WRs he had yesterday he couldn’t help it. Well except when you saw Tannehill play. Miami couldn’t run, Wallace was shut down by Haden yet a former Buckeyes WR and a FA castoff from St. Louis excelled. Of course they were being covered by Skrine and the rest. I’m sure if Skrine played for Miami he’d have looked as good as former Brown Patterson too.

  • Natedawg86

    alright i am bringing out the stop watch next game. OL sucked

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea I just commented above. He escapes my full heat because of what you said but still, he wasn’t all that good. I never was a Weeden fan I went off on draft night on his selection but in particular when he was selected. That being said I didn’t want another QB change this season. I’m guessing Banner is going to let Weeden show us that a QB change is necessary but hey, maybe he’ll be fooled.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I know I know I know please stop no draft talk I beg you dawg, have mercy, no mas, no mas!!!!!!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I predicted a Miami win but still watched held out hope until the third quarter when I saw an all to familiar sight. Still I watched, well, on occasion but was busy checking my fantasy teams. Looks like I’ll be starting my season off in a rough way too!

  • Natedawg86

    But he averaged 23 yards per return lol… Return yards (starting field pos) 27 (19), 21 (14), 25 (33), 22 (14)

  • Natedawg86

    i was thinking the same thing ugh

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    BINGO on Heckert I just said above. Not only the actual picks but the moves he made to be positioned to make those picks. Don’t forget moving down and ending up with Phil Taylor too.

    So when we saw what the “new” front office did this past draft people should be shaking their heads. It was a weak draft but they pretty much sacrificed the entire thing in order to move up next draft. Even if Mingo had played when you select a backup, part time player #6 overall on a team who hasn’t won more then five games in I believe five years something doesn’t make sense. Right? I mean it’s just not me.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea that group didn’t help Weeden much either.

  • Evan Shanley

    The coaching staff were the clear losers of the day.

    I can’t figure out if Weeden is a loser or not…the coaches made him throw it that much, but he could have thrown the ball better.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Well he got them out past the twenty yard line once which is one more time then I remembered. Isn’t it amazing how we can all talk about this stuff yet people who get paid well can’t seem to fix it? I mean this is something small in comparison to the rest of the problems but yet very obvious. I felt like this a lot under Shurmur so to feel this sense of deja vu after just one game is not good. I really was believing in the new coaching staff too. I’ll cling to “it was just one game” until 4:35 pm ET next Sunday.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    He looked like Tim Couch being thrown around like a rag doll during the game and sounded like a mystified Derek Anderson after the game!

  • Natedawg86

    game should be over by 4:15 unless the Ring Ceremony takes more time

  • Harv 21

    some of the kick off return decisions were making me nuts and I don’t know if it’s because a fringe roster guy is desperate to make an impression or because the coaches still refuse to accept the NFL’s edict via rule change: It’s over, no more run backs. But if you catch the kickoff 4 yards deep in the zone you’re already running into heavy traffic at the 10.

  • ecwingen

    Winner: Oniel Cousins. Sure, he was utterly incompetent as a blocker. But at least he cost us a TD with a traditional desperate holding penalty instead of removing his helmet while the play was live.

    Winner: Brandon Weeden. Was he replaced at half-time by Jason Campbell? Has he already been traded to the Raiders for a late round draft choice to avoid distracting the new starter? No? Then we’re all good.

    Loser: Jordan Cameron. A pro-bowl level performance from a tight end in Cleveland? Will his horrific injury come on the field in kick-off coverage or in a parking lot on a motorcycle?

    Loser: Desmond Bryant. Look, you can set a league record for sacks if you like. All anyone is going to remember is that booking photo.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Ring ceremony, ugh, the Browns should be forced to watch every moment.

  • BenRM

    WINNERS:

    - The Front 7: It looks legit
    - Bess & Cameron: Real pass catchers? What is this craziness?
    - Weeden: I thought his pocket presence was good.
    - Benjamin: the Punt Returner

    LOSERS:

    - Secondary: Haden is our only CB
    - Cousins: needs to be benched ASAP
    - Benjamin: the Pass Catcher
    - TRich: Another season of coaches not feeding him the rock?
    - Weeden: Everything else was pretty bad for him
    - OLine: Cousins was terrible. No one else was very good either.

  • http://www.cinpleweb.com/ stin4u

    Oh no I got you, I was just saying as a new coaching staff I think they’ve bought into the idea that they drafted Little and pay him more so therefore he can help the team more. So, I agree that not seeing anyone other than Little, Benjamin, and Bess on the field until the last three minutes of the game is curious but not unheard of I guess.

  • BenRM

    Yeah – Seriously, what was with the lack of any blitzing on that drive?

  • BenRM

    I see what you have going on there, you sneaky, sneaky guy

  • ncdthree

    Regarding the questionable play calling and Norv Turner…As a Chargers fan, I have to say that you Browns fans should expect to see less and less of Trent Richardson as long as Norv is around. He simply ignores running the ball in most games. He is infatuated with complex route trees and excessive passing in his game plans. It typically gets your QB pummelled because the routes take so long to develop, AND he NEVER adjusts during the game.

    When Norv does decide to run the ball, he does it with such predictability that the play is almost a throw-away. You’ll all get to a point as a fan where you’ll start to recognize the run plays before they happen…just like the defenses do.

  • dan

    Winner: The NFL and Direct TV, for somehow getting me to pony up the cost of NFL Sunday Ticket for another season despite me knowing better.
    Loser: Brandon Weeden. 1 third down converted all game and a 48.4 QBR, while across the field yet another guy the Browns had passed on showed that, yes, Virginia, it is possible for a quarterback to make plays under pressure. You know who also had better days than Weeden? E.J. Manuel and Gino Smith (QBRs of 105.5 and 80.6, respectively).

  • Nick Slabaugh

    Thank God for Jordan Cameron and Joe Haden They’re both winners from yesterday. Cameron for obvious reasons (9 catches, 100+ yards and a TD), Haden for shutting down Miami’s top receiver, holding him to 14 receiving yards.

    Other Winner: Paul Kruger. I wasn’t convinced when they signed him, but if Week 1 is any indication, that dude is worth every penny spent on him.

    Losers: The right side of the O-Line.

    Other Loser: Whoever decided to let Dimitri Patterson walk, but keep Buster Skrine.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Yeah the 1/14 on third down stat is brutal. I didn’t even realize it was that bad until you said something. Weeden is just so panicky and inaccurate when he’s put into crunch-time situations. After seeing it all last season and in the first real game this season, you definitely have to wonder if he’s capable of becoming a QB who can lead a 4th quarter drive when down.

  • willis

    one of the biggest losers to me was greg little… again he couldnt catch a cold in the winter while swimming naked in lake erie