Browns vs Packers: 10 Things We Learned from Cleveland's Performance
Surely, they're aiming higher than that in 2012.
Still, Thursday night's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers gave fans a chance to learn a few things about this young team as they look toward the regular season.
This is the 24th time these two teams have met in the preseason. Cleveland owns a 14-10-0 edge in the all-time preseason series.
So what can we take away from this latest showing?
1.The Browns turned in a good game, but they can still shock fans with hair-raising ineptitude.
RB Montario Hardesty was stripped on the first play of the first drive, leading to a short field for Green Bay where CB Joe Haden got beat in man-to-man on a TD, putting the Browns seven behind within the first minute and a half of the game.
But the Browns didn't let the Packers score again until a field goal halfway through the fourth quarter.
2. The first quarter blues continue.
In 2011, the Browns scored a total of 26 first quarter points in 16 games (CBS Cleveland).
We learned Thursday that they are still struggling in the first, scoring six points on two Phil Dawson field goals.
By the time the regular season rolls around, they need to be coming out of the gate better.
3. Rookie seventh-round CB Trevin Wade got his first taste of NFL starter-quality action, playing with the number ones.
He had a nice break-up of an Aaron Rodgers pass on 4th-and-2 late in the first quarter.
He continued to make plays throughout the second and third quarters. With fellow DB Dimitri Patterson hurt, it's encouraging to see Wade performing solidly so far.
What wasn't encouraging was seeing Wade carted off in the fourth quarter by Browns medical staff.
4. DC Dick Jauron is able to cobble together a fairly respectable defense, even with six starters sitting out with injuries.
They kept Rodgers to six completions out of 11 attempts and 59 yards in his one quarter of action, though he did have the TD.
The Browns' first-stringers held the Pack to a total of 118 yards and seven points in the first half.
After allowing 198 rushing yards to the Lions last week, the team gave up 69 to the Pack, which it should be noted is dealing with its own injury problems especially at RB.
5. Undrafted LB Craig Robertson made some plays to make a case for himself as he competes for a spot on the 53-man depth chart.
Signed to the practice squad last December, Robertson had some hard hits and a pick-six that was overturned due to a pre-snap penalty.
6. Weeden showed he could stand in the pocket and take a hit.
Toward the end of the second quarter, connecting on a first-down strike to Jordan Norwood over the middle, he stood firm and took a big shot.
He turned in a total of six passing first downs, went 12-of-20 for 118 yards and a 5.9 yards-per-attempt average. He had no picks and no touchdowns.
7. Second-round rookie Josh Gordon (supplemental draft) is continuing to struggle running routes.
Against the Lions, he failed to round off an out-route, and Weeden nearly got picked.
Against the Packers, Gordon again failed to react to the CB jumping on his hitch route that could've been a pick 6 if it weren't dropped by the CB.
Gordon should get better as he spends time in the system and gets comfortable.
8. Phil Dawson is still Phil Dawson.
The franchise-tagged kicker had three field goals in the first half on four attempts, including a 52- yarder and a 53-yarder.
He just missed a 56-yard effort. He was 24-for-29 last year and is now in his 14th year in the league, as the only remaining Brown from the original 1999 new era team.
At 37 years old, he says he figures he needs a couple more seasons to break Lou "The Toe" Groza's all-time points record of 1,349. Dawson currently has 1,155. (Cleveland.com).
Should the Browns and Packers make a deal for Colt McCoy?
Let's hope he's around that long.
9. Colt McCoy put on a good audition.
He took control of the Browns offense in the third quarter enjoying a 23-7 lead. He turned in a 97.9 passer rating, completing four of six passes, leading the team on one scoring drive.
If the Packers are indeed looking for a backup QB other than Graham Harrell, McCoy's performance certainly glowed compared to Harrell's 26.4 passer rating, going 12-of-24 for 100 yards, two interceptions, one safety and zero TDs.
10. Montario Hardesty started the game by fumbling, but turned it around into an OK 12 carries for 45 yards and one TD.
He seems to have pulled ahead of Brandon Jackson on the RB depth chart and may just yet prove an adequate complimentary back to Trent Richardson.
How about undrafted DB David Sims with two interceptions in two weeks?
DE Marcus Bernard made a couple solid run stops in the first half.
LB L.J. Fort is also continuing to intrigue, surprising in training camp and turning in good tackling in the preseason games so far.
TE Dan Gronkowski keeps showing up. The Canton Repository's Steve Doerschuk has picked him as his under-the-radar guy to watch. He proved a useful weapon for McCoy against the Packers.
Rookie RT Mitchell Schwartz looks to have made some much-needed improvements.
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