|CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-2)||GAME #4||CHICAGO BEARS (3-1)|
Eric Mangini didn't give any more hints out during the Bears/Browns contest about who the team's starting quarterback would be. That does show some progress though, because it means (hopefully) that Mangini has made a decision and is just playing the "competitive advantage" game.
With that said, the quarterback play belonged to Brett Ratliff and Richard Bartel Thursday night. Truth be told, by the end of the game, I was glad that neither Anderson or Quinn played. It doesn't make sense to see what they can do against second stringers, and for the first time this preseason, I got to see more of our youth in action.
Let's get to the recap of the game, which will be a little shorter than it's been for the first three preseason games...
PRESEASON GAME 4 - BROWNS VS. BEARS (GENERAL THOUGHTS)
- Blame it All on...Norwood: The difference between the Browns finishing the preseason 3-1 versus 2-2 might have been WR Jordan Norwood. With the Browns down six and driving late in the game, he was targeted for I believe the first two times this preseason. On the first play, he couldn't bring in a slant pass with tight coverage on him. The second play hurt though, because he was open on a crossing pattern over the middle...and I mean wide open, with a blocker in front of him. Norwood dropped it for the second play in a row. That's a tough break for a player who had a lot of buzz as an UDFA, but really never had a significant impact at any point in camp.
Mr. Jennings Has Some Power: I thought we'd see RB Noah Herron play, but instead we got to see the young Chris Jennings in action. Minus his dumb penalty (tossing the football at another player), he had a very impressive "practice squad audition". Considering he already had former ties to Mangini, I'd say there is a good chance we stash him on the practice squad now.
Jennings' average was only 3.5 yards per touch on 17 carries, but that is deceiving. I recall at least two plays in which the Browns ran the ball with about a nine-man defensive front, forcing Jennings into a 5-yard loss. What was more important is that Jennings ran with quickness and power, bowling over a few defenders and showing a knack for getting out of bounds in two-minute situations when it didn't look like he'd get there.
- Patten Makes His Case: This is a tricky one on David Patten. From a gameplay perspective, he has good hands and would probably have more trust from Mangini over a guy like Brian Robiskie in clutch situations. We're not going to keep Patten over Robiskie, but could we keep him as another receiver still? If we didn't plan on it, then why wouldn't we have given him the respect of cutting him early (alas Rod Hood)?
- Bartel > Ratliff: If I had zero knowledge of where both of these quarterbacks came from and how we acquired them, based on their preseason performances, I would like Richard Bartel a whole lot more than Brett Ratliff. I like Bartel's arm strength and his ability to get some touch on the ball too. The negative that stood out is his inability to dump the ball off when the pocket starts to collapse around him. Ratliff will probably make the team due to his ties to Mangini, but I want Bartel on the practice squad.
- Hall Didn't Belong There: With the second-string defense in, you could tell which player(s) didn't belong in there (i.e. they were too good). One of those players would be LB Alex Hall, who I hope ends up seeing 50/50 playing time with David Bowens this year.
- Francies Still Good: It was an up-and-down game for Coye Francies, as he seemed to suffer a few negative plays after giving up a touchdown pass to former Browns receiver Brandon Rideau. What I liked throughout the entire game though is that he continued to have tight coverage and played very physical -- did you see how he almost decapitated that one running back on the screen pass? He also blew up a wide receiver screen earlier in the game. The positives far outweigh the negatives.
- Special Teams Standouts: Special teams coach Brad Seely will have his pick on special teams players. We have several that have been standing out, particularly LB Blake Costanzo, LB Kaluka Maiava, and DB Mike Adams. DB Gerard Lawson is adding his name to the mix again, having his best return game outing of the preseason and also being a gunner on special teams.
- Quick DL: Was it just me, or did DL Brian Schaefering look like he shot out of a cannon on both of his sacks against the Bears?
- Add to the Suspense: To add to the suspense of the quarterback/center situation, Mangini ended up starting both Hank Fraley and Alex Mack. Mangini doesn't want anyone to know his plans, does he?
- Real-Game Situation: If we're down by six, in field goal range, with three timeouts and a little over two minutes to play, do we kick the field goal like Mangini chose to do, or do we go for the first down there?
Brownies: We finally got another look at LB Marcus Benard. He was fine, but I'm not convinced that he'll be on the practice squad. The Browns were 2-of-2 on fourth down. The second/third-string offensive line got beat a lot but offered good protection a lot. K Phil Dawson was 3-of-3 on field goals, including a perfect 51-yarder. My comments about Norwood costing us the game were a little sarcastic; I don't literally blame him with a passion or anything.
The rosters must be trimmed to 53 players by Saturday I believe. Hopefully the Browns don't make their cuts before then, because I am going to put the official "cut" projection thread up later tonight.
Here is the roll call of who participated in the game thread, with theW0LF having the most to say...
Roll Call: vincefitz, talonk, drunkrooster, BradyQuinnisBeast, Joey_D, nickjs21, Roger Dorn, Buckeye Brad, Cols714, kwoog, fwembt, danvail, Fundamentals, theW0LF, rufio, JustBob, Riverboat Sam, BLAZER_FAN_199, Bernie19Kosar, BrownDawg1409, rockybrown, Bumblyjack, NM Dawg, SpecialBrownie, Brownie's Year, Juannieboy, Dawg Nuts
Total Users: 27
Total Posts: 234
Total Threads: 1
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