Both the offensive and defensive lines were dominated. Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, fighting to establish themselves as a No. 1 quarterback, floundered. Costly penalties helped keep the Browns off the scoreboard, and the defense failed to resemble the improved unit new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has promised.
So what? It was the first preseason game, played against a team the Browns will face in the final week of October. With Green Bay on the regular season schedule, it's safe to say Ryan or head coach Eric Mangini weren’t about to expose the Packers to much in the Browns arsenal.
Though fans and media members alike prematurely went for the panic button after the team’s lackluster performance, Saturday evening shouldn’t be taken as an indication of what the 2009 season has to offer.
But what’s truly disturbing is what transpired Tuesday during the Browns’ morning practice, which prompted Mangini to show his disgust through the media with his team’s general lack of football savvy.
The Browns’ first-year head coach has a reputation for revealing next to nothing about his attitude toward the team, the status of injured players, or for that matter, who’s winning the quarterback competition. That being said, Mangini’s rant during Tuesday afternoon’s press conference should have been a red flag for the Browns and their fans.
After countless miscues, mental mistakes, and assorted stumbles, the likes of which Mangini takes pride in ridding his team of, he vented his frustrations and held back little.
“It’s not good enough,” Mangini said, according to Cleveland.com. “There are too many mistakes. We had mistakes in the two-minute drive, a false start on fourth-and-two, had a false start when we were backed up... Things like that, they’re just going to kill you. They going to kill us.”
To get to the point where Mangini publicly called out his team in such a fashion is tangible proof that he’s more than a little disappointed with what’s transpired. But he didn’t stop there.
“That's just bad football,” Mangini said in regards to how the two-minute offense performed. “And it’s under our control if you look at the scoreboard and understand what we have to do. That’s it. We have to put the plays in the context of the game.
“Know the situation, anticipate what’s going to happen, be able to react to that, understand the person you're playing against, what his traits are. Anything short of that, you’re just running plays.”
Yes, these are the toughest days of training camp. The team is learning a new system and practices have been far more demanding than those run by former head coach Romeo Crennel. But that’s no excuse for the general lack of execution the team has displayed to this point.
The Browns’ roster isn’t exactly chock full of talent. For the team to have even limited success, it will have to be sharp mentally, drastically reduce its mistakes, and retain possession of the football for extended periods.
If Tuesday’s effort was a preview of what’s to come, Browns Backers will be in for yet another excruciatingly long season.