Young Browns Show Improvement

Let’s not get carried away.

We say the same thing whether the Cleveland Browns win or loss one of these pre-season games.  They don’t count in the standings so no one should overreact.

Each team approaches these contests differently.  Look at Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy.  He obviously used the game to find out if he needed a back up to Aaron Rodgers.  And he does.

So, the score doesn’t matter.

Still if you are a fan of the Browns today, you have to shelve some of the venom being spewed toward the youngsters after the first exhibition game against the Lions.

They are rookies.  They will get better with experience, but they will have ups and downs on the way.

Not to discount the defense, but it is difficult to judge their performance last night because Rodgers played only three series.  He had a short field on his first drive because of Montario Hardesty’s fumble and quickly converted into a touchdown.

The defense did force a turnover on Green Bay’s second possession and held them on downs the next time the Packers got the ball.

Rookie CB Trevin Wade continued to impress, playing the slot receiver with the starting unit.  He defended the pass on the last Rodgers’ throw and was right on his man.

But the fears surrounding QB Brandon Weeden should be allayed at least for one week (remember, we are in Cleveland folks).  He completed 12 of 20 passes for 118 yards.

The only concern is the offense still seems to be the conservative one run by Pat Shurmur last season, filled with short throws under coverage.  Weeden has a big arm, so why not allow him to show it off.

However, it is the preseason.  Perhaps the offense isn’t installed it is entirety as of yet, or maybe the coaching staff doesn’t want future opponents to see that aspect of the offense yet.

Rookie T Mitchell Schwartz was not the turnstile he was criticized for being in his debut.  He did a much better job in his second game, which objective fans figured he would.

So, the talk of this year’s draft being horrible will have to be delayed at least until the Browns play the Eagles next weekend on the north coast.

Among the veterans, Hardesty had 12 carries for 45 yards, but fumbled once, and Brandon Jackson toted the ball 14 times for 35 yards.  However, the longest run by a Cleveland back was a whopping nine yards.

The offense needs the big play capability of Trent Richardson, who is still rehabbing his knee.

It’s tough to score points consistently in the NFL relying on 12 play, 80 yard drives.  There has to be some big play capability.  They need to mix in an occasional 40 yard gain.

Again, it may just be Shurmur and new offensive coordinator Brad Childress keeping it vanilla during the preseason, but the Browns will need to have the ability to strike quick when the regular season starts.

In the meantime, the local panic can be abated just a bit.  GM Tom Heckert didn’t draft the worst players imaginable in last April’s draft.

Remember, the Cleveland Browns are playing and relying on a lot of very inexperienced players.  They will have highs and lows.  They should get better each and every game they play in.

You have to admit there was much improvement from the first game in Detroit last week.

JD

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