|CLEVELAND BROWNS (0-3)||GAME #3||DETROIT LIONS (3-0)|
Was that not one of the most boring games you've ever watched? I know that preseason games don't even deserve to be compared to regular season games in terms of excitement, but this was beyond boring. At least we didn't have to pay to watch Saturday's game -- that is, unless you purchased a ticket to Ford Field.
After the game was over, one thing kept racing through my mind: the regular season can't get here soon enough. The players with jobs clinched could care less, the coordinators call vanilla plays on offense, and the head coach pretty much knows who his 53-man roster will be already. Death to the preseason -- bring on more games that count.
GENERAL GAME THOUGHTS
- Rogers Provided "It": If there was one thing I wanted to get out of this game as a fan, it was to see Shaun Rogers get on the field alongside Robaire Smith and Corey Williams. Rogers had the definite "it" factor on the defensive line, stuffing the run and creating havoc left and right. He will definitely make the players around him look better. I'm also awarding him this week's lone game ball.
Finishing the Pressure: A former defensive backs coach, it looks like a lot of Mel Tucker's defensive schemes in the preseason have involved blitzing the cornerbacks and safeties only. I love how often we're bringing those blitzes, but I hope he finds a fair balance between those and linebacker blitzes come the regular season.
Browns DL Shaun Rogers had an impressive game.
- Pressure on Kitna: Give credit to Jon Kitna: he's a veteran quarterback, and him escaping from pressure is not an uncommon occurrence. On the same note, he was sacked very often last season, so it was discouraging to see the Browns have the right play on, only to let Kitna get away and complete a pass downfield. You can't blame the secondary in those cases.
- Wimbley on Kevin Smith: During the second quarter, Kamerion Wimbley made a bad decision on a rushing attempt by Lions rookie RB Kevin Smith that cost the Browns a touchdown. The defensive line did their job by bottling up the line, and there were at least two or three extra linebackers over their in case he broke through to the second unit. Wimbley, covering the backside, decides to try and become the third unit behind them in the 0.001% chance that Smith will become Jim Brown. The better decision would've been to stay home the entire time, to at a bare minimum force Smith to the outside, allow the safeties to catch up, and accept a 10-15 yard gain. Instead, it was a 35-yard touchdown. Major props to Lions backup QB Dan Orlovsky for taking out three of our defenders down at the goal line on the play though.
- Not Too Hyped: Although Nick Sorensen had two notable defensive plays starting in place of Sean Jones, you just can't really get too excited about them. He just happened to be unblocked on his nifty-looking sack, and he was standing in center field on a play that Bernie deemed as a quarterback's nightmare.
- Hall = Best Rookie: It should be official already, though there are far too few rookies to actually choose from at this point. Alex Hall showed a nice pass rush against a starting unit and should make this team ahead of David McMillan.
- Corner Play: I didn't think the cornerback play for the starters was spectacular, but it wasn't as bad as the score would indicate. I believe we're going to have to live with a bend-but-don't-break pass defense this year, and a lot of Kitna's success involved both our missing safeties and our inability to sack Kitna when we had the chance.
- Quinn...ugh...Mulligan: Yes, I'll take a mulligan. The whole offense in general was just so...boring. Quinn didn't have a sharp game throwing the football either -- many of his passes were low. Sure, that's fine in some cases, but his throws were either low or bouncing at the receivers' feet. The range should be chest-level to low. The offense failed to record a touchdown all game, and the third-down execution was pitiful.
- Biggest Mistake Ever: Well, probably not the biggest mistake ever, but a mistake nonetheless: starting Travis Wilson. The kid has looked very good in camp as a third receiver. He looked very good in the Jets came as a third receiver. The past two weeks as a starter, he looks clueless. Now, fans are back to giving up on him and going as far as wanting to cut him. Mentally, he's not ready to handle a starting role. But, there's no reason he still can't be an effective third receiver unless the past two games have shot his confidence 100%.
- Screen Worked: I'm still not overly enthused by our screen plays, but at least we had a successful one to Jerome Harrison. Speaking of Harrison, big mistake to catch the ball three yards downfield and then step out of bounds. Get those five extra yards and take the hit. Fortunately for Harrison, whenever Austin Scott or Travis Thomas get into the game, it looks as if their feet are in quicksand.
- Leggett: Some people have probably jumped the gun (not here, but other Browns boards) by saying that Lance Leggett should make the final roster after having some success the past two preseason games. A pair of quarters against third-string defenses won't win you a sudden roster spot, but it does show you have some potential playmaking ability. That could call for him to be on the practice squad.
- Kasper's Done: I can't imagine Kevin Kasper sticking around much longer. My anticipation level went from sky high to literally nothing in a matter of one play. A shame, too, considering he probably would've embraced the temporary starting receiver role a lot better than Wilson has.
- Steptoe Average: Return-wise, it was only an average day for Syndric Steptoe. That's not a dig at Steptoe, but it reminds us that there is only one Joshua Cribbs.
- Big Season: I probably sound crazy since I always diss Andra Davis big time, but I really like the awareness he's shown in third down situations this preseason. He's already broken up two passes at the line of scrimmage -- those plays will end drives, or better yet, result in an interception if he tips it high enough into the air.
- Dawson's Strength: Keep it up Dawson -- those 50 yarders could be the difference against the top contenders this season. Credit to Dave Zastudil too, whose punt "for a touchback" probably actually went out around the one-yard line.
- Rehashing, Rehashing: I can't really debate the running back battle between Jason Wright and Harrison, because week after week it's the same thing. Wright may not have the most moves, but when given a hole he can shoot through it. Harrison can make the play when it's not there, but is still undersized. I still prefer Harrison, but not by a whole lot. Get well soon, Jamal Lewis.
- Sleeper: Earlier in camp, Gerard Lawson was called a sleeper by the Plain Dealer I believe. He had a nice pass breakup later in the game against Detroit that could've gone for six. Also, consider this: he has been fielding kickoffs. If the team chooses not to keep Steptoe, Lawson's ability to return kicks could give him a slight edge over an A.J. Davis.
- Kosar Rules: Bernie Kosar was at his best again -- especially when he said something along the lines of "if they need someone after Ken [Dorsey] and you see I've left the booth, you'll know where I went," in regards to the Browns naming Steptoe their third-string quarterback.
That's pretty much it -- not really sure how I made 18 points out of a boring football game, but I did. Do I really want to say "bring on the Bears" now? Only if we get to see one series with Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards back on the field. If healthy, do I want them to risk that one series? Absolutely. Even though it's just the preseason, we need some more fire as a team, and as fans.