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Browns Defeat Broncos 17-16 (Review)

I've been quite busy this week, and it's a shame that I'm not able to provide as detailed of a review as I would like now due to their being another game scheduled for tomorrow. With that said, the Browns were impressive last Saturday versus the overrated Denver Broncos. We didn't blow Denver out of the water, and the game could've been tied at the end of the game easily, but I'm mostly talking about what went down early in the game.

  1. Solidifying Drive: Quarterback Charlie Frye has clearly had a little bit of an edge throughout the preseason, and he took advantage of his starting opportunity against the Broncos with a very successful opening drive. Frye's drive was highlighted by a beautiful pass to Braylon Edwards on the outside while the defender's shoulder was turned. Frye didn't make any critical mistakes, and even decided to give Joe Jurevicius his first look of the preseason.
  2. All Year: Down near the goal line, the Browns should be committed to two options most of the time: giving the ball to Jamal Lewis, or throwing the ball to Kellen Winslow. Why wouldn't they use that philosophy? After all, it did work out extremely well for the San Diego Chargers last year. Lewis showed how he can get the tough yards against a pretty good defense when it's crunch time.
  3. Still Wright?: I was surprised to see that Jason Wright was still the person that was spelling Lewis in third down situations. As I've stated before, I have nothing against Wright whatsoever, but I guess this means my expectations for Jerome Harrison or Chris Barclay having a more active role in the offense this season are dropping.
  4. Tipped Passes: The number one thing that I really love about the Browns defense in the preseason is that we are tipping balls like I've never seen before. Defensive linemen are getting their hands in the air, linebackers are diving all out and causing deflections, and even the referees are interfering with a pass or two. Tipped passes lead to easy interceptions, and who is notorious for getting their passes tipped? Ben Roethlisberger. Nice.
  5. Daily Wilson: During a drive in which Wilson was specifically targeted, this is what happened: drop on first down on a possible one- or two-yard completion, and a miscommunication or non-adjustment on a third-down play. Once again, Wilson has tanked in a preseason contest.
  6. Trade Bait: If a quarterback has starting experience and is being groomed for a chance at a starting role, then it'd be wise to trade him. The Eagles were able to get a sixth-round draft pick for Kelly Holcomb I believe, so why couldn't we get the same for Anderson? He did a decent job against a good Broncos defense, re-illustrating the fact that he's capable of entering a game and providing somewhat of a spark. However, what he's been doing down near the red zone probably wouldn't be included in any highlight tapes.
  7. That's His Plays: When we saw Brady Quinn throw a nice flat pass to Joshua Cribbs, it was a thing of beauty. Cribbs had enough momentum after turning the corner to dodge a tackle and then bullet into the end zone. Cribbs is not a possession receiver, but putting him in the game for plays like this one and the reverses are the things that are going to utilize his talents appropriately.
  8. Cleaning House: Linebacker Chaun Thompson had his way with the Broncos late in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter. He was clearly a standout player at that point of the game, although that should probably be expected from a veteran.
  9. Quiet for Eric?: Is it just me, or have the past two preseason games been awfully quiet for Eric Wright? That's not a bad thing since he hasn't blown any plays, but I wish I could see some more plays come his way before the regular season begins.
  10. Misses Again!: In my gameday preview, I stated that I wanted to see Phil Dawson have a field goal attempt from beyond 40 yards. He received that attempt, and pulled it big time. Like I said last week, I'll worry about Dawson when he does it against the Steelers.
  11. Lessened Spark: I'm getting vibes that our punt returns will be much less exciting this year with Dennis Northcutt gone. Maybe it's because Cribbs hasn't really had the opportunity to return many punts due to time constraints. I still wish the team had let Barclay try out for that role sooner, especially since he was a premier special teams player in NFL Europe.
  12. Nothing Significant: With starting fullback Lawrence Vickers out of the lineup, there didn't really seem to be much of a difference when Charles Ali was in the game. I stand by my belief that Ali will be cut soon, and that Ryan Krause and Darnell Dinkins will both make the roster.
  13. Special Teams Machine: Since when did Jerome Harrison become a good special teams tackler? He was all over the Broncos on punt returns Saturday, taking away an extra advantage that Barclay may have had over him.
  14. Horrible Ending: Did the Broncos end the game horribly or what? Without any timeouts remaining, they threw about three passes over the middle, with the maximum yardage being around eight yards.
  15. Run Blocking: Left guard Lennie Friedman has held his own the past three weeks, but the running game hasn't really been utilized towards the left side of the line, our supposed "power" side. When Eric Steinbach returns to game action in a week or two, perhaps we'll see some more plays developed that way. Speaking of running plays, I don't recall seeing any pitch plays being run yet in the preseason. You would think that the Browns would at least try that play out, even if it's worth Jason Wright.
  16. You Fool: I can't believe that Crennel didn't even try to throw the flag on what could have been a touchdown pass to Joe Jurevicius from Brady Quinn. Of all the simple plays that Crennel challenges, you'd think that he would challenge a potentially huge play (if it were a regular season game).
The Browns battle the Bears in the final game of the preseason today! I should have a shortened preview for that game up later, and following that on Friday will be the final version of my roster projections. 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.