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Browns Defeat Chiefs 16-12 (Review)

The Browns defeated the Chiefs in their first preseason game of the year by a final score of 16-12. Although the score didn't show it, the Browns clearly dominated the game overall with all three units. Before I get into too much analysis in the introduction here, let me jump right into my notes from last night's game:

  1. QB Debate (Anderson): Was there an unfair disadvantage for Derek Anderson? If you consider being backed up to the ten-yard line on two occasions, then yes, I can see where you're coming from. However, this is the NFL, and Anderson failed to step up in those type of situations. Think of it this way: if Anderson had prevailed in those situations, he would've shown that he was clearly more comfortable in the offense than Frye was. He failed to separate himself, and when he did have decent field position later on, he didn't really capitalize too well. There were too many passes that our receivers quite frankly aren't talented enough to haul in. Anderson's biggest asset is still his pocket presence, but an off day like this is a major turnoff for wanting to start him on opening day.
  2. QB Debate (Frye): And then, there was Charlie Frye. He completed most of his passes and looked sharp in doing so, particularly when he was floating the ball above the coverage and right into the hands of his receivers. If Darnell Dinkins was a good receiver, Frye's stats would've looked even better. The major issue with Frye was the same thing that irritated everyone last year: a horrible play after momentum was on his side. In the middle of two successful drives, Frye threw a poor lateral pass that was taken back for a touchdown, and later misjudged the fact that the middle of the field wasn't open, allowing time to expire before the half. Those two plays are huge, but Frye showed me everything I needed to see to continue believe that he'll be our quarterback Week 1 against the Steelers.
  3. Harrison's Miscues: The explosiveness displayed by Jerome Harrison is enticing still, but I was severely disappointed by two plays: his fumble after a decent run, and not knowing that he needed to go after a lateral pass. I realize that I let Frye get away with two mistakes, but Harrison is supposed to execute as a role-player. If Harrison continues making mistakes like that, I don't want him to come in on third-down and end up costing us a chance to pick up a first down. I'll still give him some more chances though.
  4. Cribbs' Drops: I know that the Chiefs played tight coverage on Cribbs when he couldn't haul in two throws, but that shows me that he's still not as comfortable of a receiver as I had hoped. If you've converted into a good receiver, you'd either hang on to those passes or learn to create some more separation in the first place.
  5. TE Hands: Even though I picked him to make the roster, I was pleasantly surprised at the catching ability of Ryan Krause. Buck Ortega also displayed some good hands, which should validate my reasoning behind putting him on the practice squad. Darnell Dinkins is probably the best blocker of the bunch still, which keeps him in the running for making the team over Krause.
  6. Stepnot: I believe I had my expectations set a little high for Syndric Steptoe. I was optimistic and thought that he'd be a star as a punt returner. Although he fielded the ball fine, his recognition skills were slim to none as far as where to go compared to Dennis Northcutt. Brandon McDonald was not good in the punt return role either. Send Steptoe to the practice squad if necessary, and pick up an extra roster spot by letting Cribbs do double duty.
  7. Pass Protection: Even without Eric Steinbach in the lineup, the pass protection was fantastic all night long - from the first-string all the way down to the third-string. Every quarterback had plenty of time to throw, which actually made it disappointing when they still couldn't find open receivers at times. The units weren't as good at blocking the run, but it's too tough to get a gauge on a running game at any point in the preseason.
  8. Early Woes: The Chiefs offensive line will not be very good this year, but Larry Johnson will provide them with their real spark. I know that Michael Bennett is fast, but he ripped our defense apart early on with two good runs. The run defense is still vulnerable, but our pass defense was tremendous. I can only hope that Eric Wright has as good of a day against the Steelers that he did in the first and second quarter against the Chiefs. We were facing two quarterbacks that were not on the same page as their receivers, but building a reputation as having a good pass defense can allow us to bring an extra safety up in the box to compensate for the run woes. I believe I'm providing too much analyzing for just one quarter of a preseason game.
  9. Stepping Up: I was looking for two linebackers to step up, and I found them: David McMillan and Kris Griffin. McMillan has had a great preseason for several years now, but with the injuries to McGinest and Stewart, this year it may actually earn him a meaningful roster spot. Griffin had a couple of nice pass rushes, and has been a special teams contributor in the past which should give him an edge over Jason Short.
  10. Special Teams: There was nothing wrong with the punts of Dave Zastudil, Phil Dawson drilled three field goals, and Chris Barclay won the game on a kickoff return. Those plays overshadowed the missed kick from Jesse Ainsworth and the poor punt returning ability of Brandon McDonald. Let's not get too excited about Barclay, as I've seen many people yelling "he's gotta make the team now!" Really? What's he going to do? Cribbs is our returner, we're not going to cut Jason Wright, and the only other option would be to cut Harrison, a guy that everyone has been wanting to be the third-down back throughout the entire offseason. I'm excited about Barclay's potential, but I don't see Romeo Crennel making a decision to keep him on the 53-man roster. By the way: the blocking on Barclay's return deserves more credit than what Barclay actually did (not to take anything away from him).
  11. Peek and Wimbley: I'm confident that Antwaan Peek and Kamerion Wimbley will be very effective pass rushers. Wimbley caused several major disruptions against the Chiefs.
  12. First Cuts: As far as people that didn't make much of an impression, I'd say that Efrem Hill, Maurice Mann, Mike Mason, Justin Sandy, Jessie Ainsworth, and Kyle Basler will be amongst the first cuts, whenever they may be. I would've taken one of the fullbacks to, but I really couldn't make a good determination from the first game.
  13. Speaking Of: Speaking of fullbacks, I'm tired of Vickers getting the ball and failing on 3rd-and-short. With every other team, that play seems to work. During the regular season, we'd have to be crazy to not just hand the ball off to the powerful Jamal Lewis instead.
  14. No Quinn: There was no disappointment here for not seeing Brady Quinn. I wanted him to get more acclimated with the system before taking some reps against the Detroit Lions.
If you have anything else you'd like my input on from the game, let me know. If you'd like me to go back and look at a certain play or player on tape, I'll check it out and provide my thoughts on it.