5 Reasons Cleveland Browns Fans Should Be Optimistic After Week 2

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIISeptember 16, 2012

5 Reasons Cleveland Browns Fans Should Be Optimistic After Week 2

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    There is reason for optimism in Cleveland, as the Browns looked mildly impressive in Sunday's 34-27 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

    It is often tough to find the positives when a team walks away without a win, but after Week 1's disappointing offensive performance almost any positive signs would be welcome.

    Thankfully, there were plenty in Week 2.

    Brandon Weeden looked like an NFL quarterback, Trent Richardson looked like, well, Trent Richardson, and the Browns defense had more than one sack lunch.

    "Mmm-nmm-nmm!"

    Let's look at five reasons Browns fans should be optimistic after Week 2.

5. The Browns Had Only One Turnover

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    Ah, yes, the giant elephant in the room, Brandon Weeden's four interceptions from one short week ago.

    Well, that now seems like a horrible dream. Or was this week the dream for Weeden?

    Or is this "Inception?"

    Either way, the Browns had only one turnover against Cincinnati and it was caused by Chris Ogbannaya, not Weeden.

    Cleveland learned the hard way last week that it is not good enough to turn the ball over four times and win.

    It is a promising sign to see such a drastic drop in giveaways this week.

4. The Offense Was Consistent

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    A total of 16 passing first downs, 7-for-15 on third-down conversions and 27 minutes in control of the game clock.

    The Cleveland Browns found their mojo in Week 2 despite losing, and these types of balanced offensive numbers will bode well for the team moving forward.

    If Weeden and the passing game can keep some pressure off Trent Richardson and keep the secondary out of the box, life will be easier for all Browns involved.

    What is perhaps the most encouraging stat is the third-down conversion rate. Cleveland will be in many games this season if it can continue converting almost half of its third-down attempts.

3. Trent Richardson and the Rushing Game Were OK

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    It was hard to judge Trent Richardson against the Eagles because of his injured left knee. But after another week of healing, he looked great against the Bengals.

    Richardson traded in his 2.1 yards-per-carry average from Week 1 for a 5.7 yards-per-carry average and 109 rushing yards in Week 2.

    It goes without saying that Richardson is vital to any sort of Browns success this season, and finding holes against the Bengals was a great way to get his momentum going in the right direction.

    He did this on only 19 carries. His numbers should only get more impressive as the season progresses.

2. Andy Dalton Was Under Pressure All Day

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    The defense certainly made its presence felt in Week 2.

    Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton spent half the game on his back, as the suffocating (yes, suffocating) Browns defense sacked him six times.

    Dalton may have thrown for more than 300 yards and two scores, but the defensive line looked great in this game.

    Cincinnati managed only 80 rushing yards and never found any balance to its offensive attack.

    The Browns secondary needs obvious work, but defensive line pressure is always good.

1. Brandon Weeden Showed Signs of Life

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    Use whatever negative adjective you want to describe Brandon Weeden's Week 1 performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, they all work.

    Weeden threw four interceptions and had just 118 yards passing in that contest, but that was last week.

    In Week 2, Weeden showed off the skills that made the Browns organization draft him in the first round.

    The former Oklahoma State QB completed 26-of-37 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns.

    Perhaps more importantly, he didn't turn the ball over.

    Weeden looked comfortable in the pocket and delivered the ball with accuracy and velocity.

    Let's hope those are characteristics he continues to display as the season progresses.