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Lions Defeat Browns 23-20 (Review)

For those of you that are confused why so many national media reporters have projected the Browns to finish in the cellar of the AFC North again, re-watch last night's game, particularly the efforts from Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson, and you'll see why. The Browns were so sloppy last night that if it were a regular season game, we probably would've been beat around 40-0. It's usually worth dissecting the positives from a preseason game, but the amount of ridiculous errors in the first two and a half quarters were ridiculous. But then, just then, something happened...

  1. No Wonder He Waited: It's no wonder why Brady Quinn held out as long as he did: he'll probably only miss a few games before playing. Before I expand on that though, I'd like to review the performances of Frye and Anderson more in-depth. Neither quarterback did a single thing to impress me, but Anderson had the best drive between the two. After a fumble on the first play of the game, he utilized the effective running of Jamal Lewis to get down the field, mixed in with a great catch by Braylon Edwards. Then, just when we thought that the quarterback competition could actually be taken seriously, it began. I don't remember the exact order, but I believe we had to burn two timeouts, had a false start, and were called for a delay of game on the one-yard line. At that point, the Browns finally got a play off, only to have two receivers basically collide, resulting in an easy interception. At that point, I figured it was over: Frye would have to be the starter after this crap.
  2. Think Again: When Charlie Frye came into the game, his passes were just completely off. He sailed several relatively easy passes out of bounds, particularly one towards Edwards near the sidelines. A little later, the Browns quickly tried to pull off a quarterback sneak on about fourth-and-two, which failed miserably. Then, just before the half, Frye sailed a ball twice the height of an open Steve Heiden and right into the hands of a Lions' defender. Frye's throws were atrocious, but if there was one positive about him, it was that his decision making wasn't horrible. He made the right reads on most of his plays, but some god awful throws overshadowed that.
  3. Gameday Victory?: In my preview for the game, I stated that team chemistry would define which quarterback I felt should be named the starter. With Anderson in the game, there were so many miscommunications, false starts, timeouts, and missed assignments. With Frye in the game, it seemed as if people knew what they were doing, but Frye's throws were off. I think Frye's abilities improve drastically when he starts off a game, so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt again this week and say that he should be named the starter over Anderson.
  4. They are Chanting His Name: The fans weren't booing Ken Dorsey, they were booing the fact that they thought they wouldn't have a chance to see Brady Quinn drive the ball. Dorsey showed again this week that he makes nice reads in the system, drawing remarks from fans such as "just put him in as the starting veteran QB". It probably won't happen, but you never know. As far as Quinn goes, you couldn't have asked for a better first appearance if you're Quinn. Frye and Anderson were putrid at quarterback, the team was down by 16 points, the fans were chanting his name, and he was facing backup defenders. Quinn embarrassed the Lions third-string defense, and didn't looked dazed at all by any pressure that may have been on his shoulders. I understand that he wasn't facing a great defense at the time, but it's a game like yesterday that makes you want Romeo Crennel to sit at the podium with his odd smile and state "Brady Quinn is the starting quarterback. Charlie Frye will be the backup."
  5. Key to Success: Now that I'm finally done with the quarterbacks, how about all of the cool little tidbits you guys love reading? I think Jamal Lewis will be the key to the offensive success this year. He shifted beautifully on the right side of the line, which seems to be getting a better push in the running game without Eric Steinbach on the left side.
  6. Step Back: The offensive line took a step back, mainly due to the amount of holding penalties and false starts that they were flagged with early on. On the first play of the game, Kevin Shaffer let his guy blow right by him and was responsible for the fumble. Meanwhile, Joe Thomas was flagged on the same play. The pass protection after that was pretty good overall though, and the run blocking showed some more potential than last week with Lewis getting a few extra carries.
  7. Winslow's Absence: Based on the past two preseason games, you wouldn't even know Kellen Winslow was on the roster. I actually condone that for the most part, strictly due to the fact that Winslow is coming off of surgery. We know what he's capable of, so there's no need to waste him. In the battle between Ryan Krause and Darnell Dinkins, it was basically the same story as last week. Krause continued to show nice hands, but Dinkins caught a pass off of playaction as if to say "I can catch the ball in appropriate situations AND block".
  8. Daily Wilson: I was disappointed that Tim Carter was still out with an injury, but at least it gave some of the younger guys some more opportunities. Travis Wilson had a chance to really step up, but he failed miserably. On a good slant pass from Anderson during the third quarter, Wilson failed to hold onto the ball. When Dorsey came into the game later, his footwork was terrible on a perfectly thrown fade pass to the corner of the end zone.
  9. Keep Them Both?: Running backs can play an important role in a team's offense, a reason why I'm actually thinking it may be beneficial to keep both Jerome Harrison and Chris Barclay on the roster. Both men can run after the catch well and had some nice quickness on screen plays. Barclay made some nice, fluent moves in the kick return game, giving my ideas of lining both Cribbs and Barclay up deep and allowing one or the other to field it based on which direction opposing teams kick the ball.
  10. Players of the Game: I know that Quinn did well, but no one can tell me otherwise that Kamerion Wimbley and Antwaan Peek were the players of the game. Both men wreaked havoc from the outside linebacker position: Peek with his power tackling and Wimbley with his spin moves and shoulder dips. Did you see Wimbley lower his shoulder on tight end Casey Fitzsimmons, and still have enough power to take a running back down by his feet only?
  11. He Got ROCKED!: I had to throw this in there: Mike Adams got DRILLED by running back T.J. Duckett in the open field. I'm sorry, but I'd hate to see Najeh Davenport doing that on a dumpoff pass on opening day against one of our safeties...yikes. On another good hit, props to Jessie Ainsworth for putting his body on the line during a kickoff return. Granted, I hate seeing kickers risk getting injured, but the team seemed to love it.
  12. One-on-One: First matchup: Calvin Johnson vs. Eric Wright in the battle of rookie stars. Wright defended Johnson well on a fade route, resulting in an incomplete pass. The play would've been closer had the thrown been better, but Wright did a good job considering the size difference.
  13. Cribbs, Take It: For the second week in a row, Syndric Steptoe and Brandon McDonald did nothing to show that they deserve the punt return role over Cribbs.
  14. Go for the Tackle: I believe it was during the first quarter, defensive back Jereme Perry went for an interception/pass break-up instead of a tackle, which almost resulted in a touchdown. That's fine if he does that in a do-or-die situation, but it made no sense on that particular play.
  15. Negate It: Besides a 21-yard run by Tatum Bell, I think our run defense didn't look worse with Leon Williams in the game over Andra Davis. Williams seemed to be at the point of attack often, rather than making the play five yards down the field.
  16. Caught Off Guard: When it was second-and-one, I was actually surprised to see a quick handoff to Lawrence Vickers, which was good for four yards and a first down. I hate wasting the chance to throw the ball in that situation, but I'm glad the Browns got to see an occasion in which a fullback handoff may be beneficial to us during the regular season.
  17. SHANKS It: Ugh...let's just forget about Phil Dawson's short miss. I'll only get mad at a missed kick during the regular season; it doesn't make sense for fans to stress over it during the preseason really.
  18. Timmy Cut: Quarterback Tim Couch was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday. Couch had a decent training camp, but sat out of practice last week with a sore back.
  19. Practice Squad Material: Since Kendrick Mosley has been near invisible in the preseason so far, Steve Sanders was the man that stepped up a little this week. Sanders, who hails from East High in Cleveland, could be the receiver that makes the practice squad.
I wish I could go on for more, but that's where you guys come in again. If you have any comments or questions regarding the game, please post them and I'll provide my own analysis on the matter brought up.