Browns Lose, But They Are Still 0-0

Last night’s Browns-Bills preseason contest should be exhibit A in any case where a football fan wants to sue NFL teams for charging full prices for these games.

It was that ugly.

Besides the numerous players on both teams that sat out the game with injuries (the Browns had 19 players listed as inactive for the contest), the play from both teams was sloppy and inconsistent.

That should be expected considering the number of guys who played that wouldn’t if the game really counted.

If you were upset early on with Browns’ CB Johnson Bademosi struggling in coverage, remember that if Mike Pettine has to have him covering the starting wide receivers from the opponent, it will indeed be a looooong season for the brown and orange.

And that wasn’t written to denigrate Bademosi, a very good special teams player.  However, on the pecking order, he is behind Joe Haden, Tramon Williams, K’Waun Williams, Pierre Desir, and probably Justin Gilbert.

The game was entertaining only to the two head coaches, Pettine and Rex Ryan, who seemed to have a contest on who could dial-up a more exotic blitz package against the other.

Josh McCown looked like a journeyman, throwing two bad interceptions, but we thought the play calling was odd, not that it matters in the pre-season.

Against a team with a pass rush like Buffalo, you almost have to pass on first down to stay out of second or third down and long situations, but offensive coordinator John DeFillipo wanted to establish the run, and McCown had to face a hard rush because the running game wasn’t working.

The veteran did have a good drive before the half, and Isiah Crowell had a couple of good runs, and once Terrance West figured out to make one move and cut up field, he had more success than he did early in the game.  McCown needed that, if only to restore confidence among the fan base.

Johnny Manziel led the Browns to their only touchdown drive, and although he is still is looking more and more like a pro QB, he had to run for his life for most of the half.  Still, he did make plays.

It would be interesting to see Manziel with the first unit if only to see if he can make plays from the pocket.  It is worth noting that GM Ray Farmer needs to find some offensive linemen when teams start cutting down, because outside of rookie Cam Irving, the second team line is a sieve.

TE Rob Housler looked good and probably put himself back in good graces, but undrafted free agent TE E.J. Bibbs continued to impress as well, meaning somebody with talent may not make the team if Cleveland decides to go with three tight ends.

WR Shane Wynn caught the Browns’ lone touchdown pass and had an electrifying punt return called back by penalty, but isn’t he the same player as Travis Benjamin and Taylor Gabriel?  The brown and orange need a big target, and that is why Terrelle Pryor is so intriguing.  He has size.

He also may have the ability to score from the Browns’ own 30 yard line.  Name another player on this roster who has this capability.  That’s why the former quarterback will be given every opportunity to make the final roster.

Next week is the “dress rehearsal” against Tampa Bay.  Our guess is several of the players with minor injuries will play that game, and that game only.

That should give us a better idea about this team going into the regular season.  Because right now, we can’t say we know anything.

JD

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