After the second game this preseason, the Browns showed that even with self-inflicted wounds, they’ve finally acquired the coaching staff that’s competent enough to potentially override those mistakes. In his first two games, albeit pre-season showings against second and third stringers…
Freddie Kitchens has looked the part.
He’s been poised, tough, concise and has shown the ability to adjust in-game; we all know how that was a problem with the last coaching staff. Despite a win, he didn’t hesitate to sugarcoat any glaring mishaps made. He could simply attribute it to his starters not being in the game, but that wasn’t the case. He held backups, the backups’ backups and guys who won’t make the 53-man roster accountable.
We all know Baker Mayfield is the starting QB and Freddie has been adamant on Drew Stanton being the backup, but the competition for the third-string QB appears to no longer be a competition.
Garrett Gilbert finished the game (he started the first half) having completed 13-of-19 passes for 151 yards, two touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 127.3 (per).
David Blough started the second half and lead the team to a touchdown on his first drive of the game, connecting with Derrick Willies in the endzone, but didn’t do much more after that. Given his overall success, it appears that the third-string QB for the Cleveland Browns come opening night will be Garrett Gilbert.
We all know who the starting receivers will be, but it looks like this team has the opportunity to have the deepest receiving core in the league. Jalen Strong, D.J. Montgomery and Derrick Willies all made a splash in Saturday’s game and surely made a case to remain on the 53-man roster. Given Antonio Callaway’s inability to stay out of trouble, I’d expect to see at least an additional receiver kept on the squad. Not only to bolster the position but to ensure that if Callaway finds himself in trouble again; there’s a plan B.
Given the fact that we’re not seeing the core starters, it’s hard to assess the Browns, in full. But so far, they’ve been impressive. The first game was nearly perfect. The second was anything but, yet they still managed to win, something that sounds like a foreign concept given how bad past teams were. All in all, there’s a lot more to learn, both on the team’s side and from a fan’s perspective.