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Player Recap from First Preseason Game

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  1 2 3 4 Final
Cleveland Browns 0 0 0 7 7
Philadelphia Eagles 3 0 14 3 20
The first preseason game is in the books, and the Browns did not come out on the winning side, as we lost 20-7. The preseason is never about winning a football game in the end, it's about evaluating who is going to make the final roster, and who is going to get cut. On the offensive side of the ball, we barely saw anything today. I don't know whether to blame the playcalling or the players, but the best scenario is to probably blame both. Sure there were bright spots, but if you flipped over to the St. Louis Rams and Indianapolis Colts game, you could've seen more action in one series than we saw an entire game. Here are my thoughts on individual players from yesterday, as I got my first true look at some of them.
Quarterbacks:
  • Charlie Frye: We only got to see the basic playbook from Frye tonight, but he was easily the best quarterback on our roster. His knew where he was going with the football, and on the play in which he was flushed from the pocket, he made a strong throw to Dennis Northcutt. We'll have to wait until next game to see some more plays over the middle to Kellen Winslow, rather than a couple of quick outs to the sideline.
  • Ken Dorsey: Although he was unfortunate to have the other Dorsey blow it for him (Nat Dorsey), Ken didn't do anything good or bad. It seemed as if the only plays he attempted were passes in the flat and a screen pass or two. That's not enough to judge a quarterback, but I have a feeling that Dorsey was afraid to make a mistake. You can't be tentative when you're a quarterback.
  • Derek Anderson: I was expecting to see some positive things from Anderson last night, but I came away very disappointed. It seemed like he had no touch on his passes, and on a beautiful route by Frisman Jackson, the ball was thrown very poorly. That play would've gone for a touchdown if thrown correctly.
  • Lang Campbell: Of the three backups that played, Campbell looked the best simply because he took the shots downfield. Do I think he should be our No. 2 quarterback? I would say no, until he proves he can bring the ball down at times. About half of his throws were great, but the other half were thrown too high or too far, and against tougher competition, that will result in a lot of interceptions. Campbell definitely deserves more action next week.
  • Grade: The quarterback unit earned a D last night. Frye and Campbell were no where close to performing better than average, while Anderson and Dorsey...well, didn't really do anything at all.
Running Backs:
  • Reuben Droughns: Out of all the players on offense, Droughns looked like one of the few guys who knew what he was going all night. He had a pair of solid runs (one was taken back by penalty) and was even getting pumped up early on in the game. He knows how to find a hole at least, something the guy below doesn't want to do.
  • William Green: This guy was our No. 1 pick a few years ago? Seriously? The Eagles' were down to their sixth-string running back, and even they looked like they knew the basics of running the football. It's one thing if the offensive line isn't blocking well - which they really weren't for Green - but still, the man has to make something besides negative yards happen. If this was a showcase for trade bait, then I think what little value he had went down the drain.
  • Lee Suggs: Suggs was alternating with Green in the second-string unit. It didn't look like there was a lot of room to run, but Suggs actually was able to find a hole and pick up three yards a play. On those very same plays, Green would probably have lost a yard. Nothing special for Suggs overall though.
  • Jerome Harrison: Next week, hopefully we'll see a little bit more of the "Ghost". He didn't get any touches in the ground game - which was very surprising to me - but he got the job done near the red zone for our only touchdown.
  • Grade: The running backs' unit earned a D+ last night. Droughns was the only one able to make an impact besides Harrison's receiving play.
Wide Receivers:
  • Joe Jurevicius: He was only the target on one pass I believe, and he reached up to snag the floater out of the air. After he got drilled by the defender, he got right back up while the defender was in pain. This is exactly what we need - a tough receiver who catches the ball and doesn't cause trouble.
  • Dennis Northcutt: I'll always feel that Northcutt is better suited for the slot, and that showed tonight. Despite missing two catchable passes from Frye - one on the sideline and one on the scramble - they had the chemistry together to know where to go. If Northcutt is in the slot, he won't have to worry about solid coverage from the corners, and will be able to get more proper match-ups for his capabilities.
  • Frisman Jackson: He only caught one pass, but was open on two other plays due to some fairly solid route running. Unfortunately, Dorsey and Anderson couldn't get him the ball in a catchable manner, and instead of big plays, they resulted in a loss of a down.
  • Josh Cribbs: Not sure why, but Cribbs reminded me of an upgraded version of Kevin Johnson. On both balls that he caught, he seemed to trap the ball and fall down almost right after the catch. Unlike Johnson though, both of his catches were past the first down marker.
  • Brandon Rideau: What a difference a year makes. Plain and simple - you blow a catch when you're wide open and you're not going to be around much longer, let alone have a chance on the practice squad.
  • Travis Wilson: For the one play that he was the target on, Wilson made a nice diving catch. I can't really say anything beyond that, but he definitely capitalized on the chance that he received.
  • Carlton Brewster: Made a catch like Rideau would have made in the preseason last year. I can see him making the practice squad.
  • Kendrick Mosley: He'll also challenge for the practice squad after a pair of catches.
  • Grade: The wide receivers' unit earned a C-. Besides Rideau and Northcutt, they caught everything that was thrown their way. We didn't see any run-and-catches though; it was basic "catch and get tackled" type of plays.
Tight Ends:
  • Kellen Winslow: The playbook for Winslow was very dry tonight. I'm guessing that's due to the team not wanting to show off his potential, since he should be the focus point of our offense in the regular season. On the quick outs, he did his job. He pushed off on one play and slipped - something he'll have to work a little more on. The elite tight ends are able to get away with that and make the play past the first-down marker.
  • Steve Heiden: When the second unit was in there, Heiden was the only bright spot offensively. The screen play that was designed for him worked well, and he showed some of that blazing (sarcastic) speed from last year's Packers game.
  • Paul Irons: He let Lang Campbell's well-thrown first pass bounce off his helmet and result in a turnover, and then couldn't make the catch down near the end zone. Granted, he doesn't look like an agile guy who can make those type of plays, but on the same note, we have three other guys that can make those plays.
  • Grade: The tight ends' unit gets a C. Winslow did fine in limited action, as did Heiden. Nothing more than average just yet, though.
Offensive Line:
  • Alonzo Ephraim: The starting center for the time being didn't make any glaring mistakes, which is all you can ask for from the third guy on your depth chart trying to play first-string. He definitely needs support around him though.
  • Nat Dorsey: After we acquired him from the Vikings last year, I thought we had someone to groom for our future. After last night's game, either this guy is still very raw, or he just isn't going to cut it.
  • Grade: The offensive line unit earned a D. I didn't review everyone because all I'd basically have to say for most of them are "did good" or "did bad", which really doesn't say much. The starters did well, and it showed - Frye stayed on his feet and the running game was a success. When the backups were in, Dorsey and Anderson were pressured early and the running game had no where to go.
Defensive Line:
  • Ted Washington: Man, that guy really is big. Remember, his role won't be to make plays - it's to plug the line, which he did last night.
  • J'Vonne Parker: He had a good training camp, and did a good job against the running game last night. I'm not sure if he'll make the 53-man roster, but he may have a better chance than Babatunde.
  • Babatunde Oshinowo: It was difficult to get a gauge on the young nose tackle, especially since the only thing the announcers could do was repeat that he looks like nothing compared to Washington (size-wise). He recorded a sack, but probably won't be ready to be Washington's backup until he gets a year of experience under his belt.
  • Grade: The defensive line's unit earned a C+. That is a very good rating, considering how bad we were last year. We didn't allow the offense to get large holes in the running game until the third-stringers entered the game, and we didn't allow an open lane over the middle for McNabb or Garcia to take off on.
Linebackers:
  • Matt Stewart: Not sure if it was just me, but the Eagles' first drive seemed to be attacking the area that Stewart was around. Sure, he adds a veteran presence, but someone else showed me that he's already ready.
  • Kamerion Wimbley: What's a pass rush? I almost forgot after all of these years without having one, but Wimbley brought it last night. He showed quickness off the end, and he was able to catch the running back from behind several times. We need to see how he does in coverage a little bit more though before we start him.
  • D'Qwell Jackson: I expected Jackson to make the biggest splash, but instead he really didn't seem to be around the football as much as I had expected. Maybe he would have been better suited coming in on specialty plays like Wimbley and Williams for the preseason.
  • David McMillian: Of the McMillian/Speegle combination that we were so high on last year, McMillian will definitely make the bigger splash. Even McMillian appeared to be the forgotten man after we drafted three linebackers. He pressured Jeff Garcia on two consecutive plays and seemed to have a nose for the football.
  • Mason Unck: This will be one tough man to cut. He is a special teams leader, and he is another man that was sort of "off" of people's radars until last night. This is the third straight year that he's been consistent in the preseason, and it'll be hard to get rid of this guy if we have to.
  • Grade: The linebackers earned a B. We closed gaps well, we tackled well (how many broken tackles did you see?), we gang tackled, and the youngsters and veterans combined to get the job done for the most part. They still have some work to do when dropping back in pass coverage though, as the tight ends had some open looks in the flat.
Secondary:
  • Leigh Bodden: Yikes, that should have been an interception. Bodden gave the defense a much-needed boost on the first play of the Eagles' second drive, something he did a lot of last season. You know what the best quality of Bodden man be? Unlike Baxter and McCutcheon, he doesn't get injured.
  • Pete Hunter: Every week in the Browns' camp, Hunter was getting burned by Northcutt for 50-yard bombs. However, when McCutcheon and Perkins went down, Hunter was supposedly the third cornerback, which came as a shock to me. Well, not to my surprise last night, he was the only lowlight of our secondary, getting burned twice on deep routes that resulted in a difference of 14 points. Get the scissors out.
  • Brodney Pool: The box score won't show it, but I was very pleased with Pool's effort on defense. He made a huge stop near the goal line on a very smart tackle, and he was able to scoop the football up properly on the changed fumble later in the game. It's too bad we didn't see Sean Jones anywhere.
  • Daven Holley: I'd just like to note, that little first pump that he gave after a tackle near the five-yard line when we were losing 10-0 reminded me of Andre King celebrating like crazy after a blocked punt touchdown, when the Browns were down by about 35 points to the Seahawks a few years back. Just thought I'd mention that.
  • Grade: Simply due to Hunter, the secondary unit receives a C. Hunter was the only guy to get consistently beaten in the passing game, however our we did allow the tight ends to slip into the secondary a few other times when our backups entered the game.
Special Teams:
  • Dave Zastudil: The wind was blowing strong in Philadelphia last nut, but at least it was a relief to see punts that weren't shanked. His punt downed at the one-yard line is what we've been missing since Gardocki left.
  • Kyle Basler: Well, Basler can join Rideau on one of the first guys to get cut line. He wasn't going to stay around anyway, but if Zastudil gets injured, I don't see us using this guy as our second option.
  • Kick Returners: How stupid was it for David Akers to persist on kicking the ball out of the end zone? This is preseason, don't you want your kick coverage to get some live practice in? We couldn't even see how are lone kick return did, because WKYC in Cleveland botched the coverage.
  • Grade: Not enough information to warrant a grade on special teams.
It's the first preseason games, but the Browns always seem to have a habit of "not showing any plays" in the preseason. Some people may buy into that, but the Colts and Rams ran their offense like normal and put some nice drives together. And, I guarantee you, the plays they made won't backfire during the regular season whatsoever. In other words: Maurice Carthon, open it up already!