There is no question that you can’t take a lot from NFL preseason games.
For one reason, you don’t know the motivation of the opponent. There is no way to tell if the team you are playing is trying to win, or simply just get out of there without getting anyone hurt.
All Pro T Joe Thomas said after the first game that it was easy to block the Rams defensive line because they were basically just standing there.
However, there are some good things to say about the Cleveland Browns after two games that do not involve talking about their 2-0 record in games that do not count.
In watching the two games, the team looks crisp. Gone are the silly penalties that occurred throughout each of the last two seasons, and they don’t seem to be struggling to get plays off before the play clock goes off.
To simplify, they seem less confused.
They also seem more willing to throw the ball downfield, not using the dink and dunk attack used by Pat Shurmur when he was running the offense. To be fair, QB Brandon Weeden has made a huge mistake such as throwing a critical interception.
When that occurs, we will see if coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner get conservative with the play calling in order to avoid mistakes, or if they will continue to be aggressive. The guess here is if Turner gets his way, Weeden will continue to stretch the field more than he did in his rookie season.
Trent Richardson saw his first action last night getting six carries for 33 yards. But one play stood out to us.
Richardson took a pitchout, ran wide and gained eight yards. Last year, for whatever reason, the third overall pick in 2012 ran almost exclusively between the tackles, which was odd because you would think you would want linebackers and defensive backs trying to bring him down.
Turner has a history of developing tight ends as well, and Jordan Cameron has been able to get up the field and caught two TD throws against the Lions.
It is tough to judge the defense because WR Calvin Johnson, arguably the best wide receiver in the game, didn’t play for Detroit, but in watching the action, defensive coordinator Ray Horton seems to be true to his word. He wants to get after the quarterback.
The days of watching “bend, but don’t break” schemes appears to be over.
The Browns may give up big plays at times, but fans won’t have to watch 14 play drives where the opponent has the ball for seven minutes endlessly.
Individually, NT Phil Taylor seems poised for a very good year, making impact plays thus far. And OLB Jabaal Sheard looks like he can definitely make the conversion to his new position.
The defense is fast and aggressive, which is something not seen in Cleveland for a long time.
This is not to say that the Browns are going to the playoffs this season. Remember, when they take the field at FIrst Energy Stadium at September 8th, their record will be 0-0.
But after watching this team over the last five seasons, it is refreshing to see a product that resembles a professional football team.
That’s progress anyway you measure it.