The Cleveland Browns opened the 2019 preseason on Thursday night with a 30-10 victory over the Washington Redskins.
As far as first preseason games go, the Browns checked off all the appropriate boxes:
- The starters got some time together as well as the opportunity to hit an opposing player rather than a teammate
- The rookies had a chance to state their case for a roster spot
- Most importantly, the Browns walked out of the game without any serious injuries
All in all, it was a good first step, head coach Freddie Kitchens told clevelandbrowns.com:
“It was good to finally get a chance to compete against other people, and I am very happy. Our guys felt excited. They were excited and did a god job of competing on an every play. It was not always pretty, but I thought they competed the whole game, even to the end.”
Here are three takeaways from the game as the Browns prepare for next week’s joint practices with the Indianapolis Colts leading up to the second preseason game.
.@bakermayfield makes quick work— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 8, 2019
Mayfield to Higgins for SIX!#WASvsCLE pic.twitter.com/382STt7TXk
The offense is going to be fun
Quarterback Baker Mayfield only played one series, but he made the most of his time on the field.
Running an un-tempo offense that the Browns will hopefully more of this fall, Mayfield led the Browns to a touchdown on their first possession of the night, completing five-of-six passes for 77 yards and a 24-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rashard Higgins.
Related: Baker Mayfield’s no-huddle TD drive
Two things stand out about that drive.
The first is that the Browns did it with starting wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry on the sidelines. In their place, Mayfield connected with Higgins, wide receiver Jaelen Strong, and running backs Nick Chubb and Dontrell Hillard as the Browns moved easily down the field.
If the Browns can be that effective with two of their top wideouts on the sidelines, imagine how things will look with Beckham and Landry on the field?
The second is the offense clearly had a plan for the opening drive of the game and was able to execute it. That may not sound like much, but given how many times over the years that the Browns have opened a game resembling a bunch of players who are just meeting for the first time, it was nice to see.
The rookies get loud
With several of the veterans and first-teamers seeing little to no action on Thursday, it was a opportunity for the rookies to grab some attention.
Mack Wilson impresses in Cleveland's preseason victory against Washington.— PFF (@PFF) August 9, 2019
: https://t.co/XdR29kj2jy@PFF_Gordon details how the former Alabama LB produced arguably the top performance of any defensive player on Thursday night! pic.twitter.com/qsGGjvj2Yx
Linebacker Mack Wilson had a pair of interceptions - returning one for a touchdown that included an impressive stiff arm on Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins - as he continued a strong week of practice.
Cornerback Greedy Williams also had an interception and rebounded nicely after an early coverage mixup with rookie safety Sheldrick Redwine that resulted in a Washington touchdown.
But the highlight of the night may have been delivered by Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, who returned a fourth-quarter punt 86 yards for a touchdown.
In April, Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi was sleeping outside and had to talk his way into a workout with the @Browns ...— ESPN (@espn) August 9, 2019
Tonight, he scored a TD in his first #NFLPreseason game and his teammates were hyped (via @thecheckdown)pic.twitter.com/CO6R5vnktl
Myles Garrett is a nightmare
At this point, it probably goes without saying, but defensive end Myles Garrett is a nightmare for opposing offenses.
Garrett only played one series against Washington, but he made the most of it as he drew a holding penalty (one of four holding calls against the Redskins on the series) and was clearly too fast for the offensive line.
If this is what’s happening in today’s NFL, I am happily retired. OMG https://t.co/5mCBozXHcS— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) August 9, 2019
All in all, not a bad way to start the preseason for the guys in Orange and Brown.
What do you think, Browns fans? What stood out for you from Thursday night’s game?