Just some thoughts on the Browns first preseason game vs. the
- Charlie Frye looks like the clear-cut choice for the starting quarterback job. Frye went 12-15 for 122 yards and made excellent decisions in the passing game. His only poor choice was another bonehead move in the red zone, this time when he tried to scramble into the end zone with 12 seconds left in the half, the ball on the seven-ish yard line, and the Browns out of timeouts. Frye was stopped short, and the clock ticked to zero with
getting nothing to show for an impressive two-minute drill run by Frye. (Frye also fumbled a lateral to Jerome Harrison that was returned for a touchdown, but the decision was right. Frye should have just waited for Cleveland Harrisonto get out more into the flat.) Derek Anderson didn’t really get as many opportunities to throw as Frye, but when he did, he did not look sharp. A lot of his passes would sail over his receivers’ heads or dive at their feet, and his decision making was shaky. Twice checked out of a play on a blitz, and twice the play he checked into did nothing. (The first play was a Jason Wright run directly into the hole where three Chiefs were blitzing, and the second was an ineffectual pass to a tight end over the middle.) Ken Dorsey proved that he is nothing more than a third string quarterback, as his arm strength prevented him from throwing more than 10 yards downfield. Brady Quinn did not play, despite the promise made by Coach Romeo Crenell that he would get a few plays. Anderson
- Jamal Lewis looked good in limited time, running the ball 4 times for 20 yards and snagging 3 catches for 16 yards. Lewis’s success came despite the Browns rarely employing a fullback in front of him, which is Lewis’s preferred style of running. Jason Wright ran hard, but right into Chiefs defenders. He is going to have to learn some shake-and-bake moves or how to take a hit, or else have his season ended very soon by multiple concussions. Jerome Harrison led the team in rushing with 8 carries for 33 yards, but looked the worst out of the three running backs. First, he had the aforementioned fumbled lateral with Frye that
Harrisonjust gave up on, allowing the Chiefs to return it for a touchdown. Then Harrisonfumbled again on the next series, but the ball was recovered by Travis Wilson. He did improve on his blitz pickups from last year, but he still dances too much in the hole and looks like a work in progress. The Browns best run of the day came on an end-around by Josh Cribbs for 12 yards, although I don’t know how necessary it is to be running trick plays in the preseason. All of the backs had much larger holes than Browns backs of years past have had, with Seth McKinney and Joe Thomas standing out. Thomas, however, did look shaky in pass-protection, twice getting flagged for holding and constantly getting beat on inside moves. He did show good recovery after getting beat, though, and his quarterbacks still got the ball off in time, so that’s a good sign, I suppose.
- Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, and Joe Jurivicious were absolute non-factors in this game. Travis Wilson stood out with 2 catches for 29 yards, with a big one coming on third down on Frye’s end of the half two minute drill. An interesting development is taking place on the third tight end front, with Buck Ortega (4 catches, 39 yards) and Ryan Krause (2 catches, 34 yards) looking very impressive and incumbent Darnell Dinkins looking awful, in both pass-catching (not his strong suit) and blocking (what he’s there for).
- The defense looked dominant—although the
offense was atrocious—with Kamerion Wimbley looking like he’s ready to make the jump into the NFL elite. Rookie cornerback Eric Wright looked solid in coverage and in run support, while linebacker Kris Griffin impressed among the backups. An area of concern had to be stopping the run out of zone coverage; twice on third and long the Chiefs ran and picked up 15-17 yards. Other than that, the defense looked very impressive (although I don’t know why they showed so many blitzes). Kansas City
- Phil Dawson looks like he’s past his late-season slump from last year, drilling three field goals (rookie Jesse Ainsworth missed his only attempt wide-left). The return game was two different stories. On kick returns, the Browns excelled, highlighted by Chris Barclay’s 88-yard touchdown return late in the fourth quarter to win the game. On punt returns, however, Cribbs and rookie Syndric Steptoe made poor decisions. Cribbs and Steptoe both fielded a punt inside the 10 (a big no-no), and then Steptoe let a punt go that bounced at the 20 and ended up being downed inside the 10. Hopefully the injured Tim Carter can do a better job when he gets healthy.