The Cleveland Browns preseason has come to a conclusion, so here’s a look back on what happened. Despite losing three of four contests, the Browns played well.
The quarterback play was respectable and offered some pleasant surprises. Josh McCown supplied Clevelanders with some of these moments. The veteran appeared more mobile than previously anticipated. His most memorable highlight came against the Washington Redskins. As the pocket collapsed, McCown escaped pressure and found an open receiver in the end zone. He started three games and finished the preseason completing over 76% of his passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns.
Johnny Manziel appeared in two games, looking far more comfortable than expected. He stayed within the pocket, kept his eyes down field and only scrambled when needed. Manziel passed for 160 yards while adding another 33 on the ground. He was in on two touchdowns.
I’d mention Thad Lewis’s accomplishments, but unfortunately for him, the Browns terminated his contract.
As for the running back position, Isaiah Crowell seems to have a grip on the starting job. He saw limited reps throughout the preseason and even sat out of the final exhibition. Last year, Crowell appeared more explosive and productive (eight touchdowns) than Terrence West, who saw more reps in the backfield.
This off season West received a majority of the touches and led the Browns in rushing. There were numerous questions about the second year back, but now it’s no longer Cleveland’s concern. Rumors placed the Towson product on the trading block and a suitor was found. The Browns will receive a conditional 2016 draft pick from the Tennessee Titans.
This opens the door for rookie Duke Johnson, who missed time due to injuries. When he did return to the field, it wasn’t for long as he suffered a concussion. Unfortunately with limited data fans don’t know what to expect out of him, but his potential can’t be ignored.
Speaking of potential, it is abundant in the group of receivers the Browns obtained.
Currently, there are seven wide outs on the 53 man roster and any Clevelander knows what Andrew Hawkins, Taylor Gabriel, and Marlon Moore will bring to the table. Additionally, we’re aware of Travis Benjamin’s abilities, but after three years in the league, he’s looking like a decent pass catcher.
Newcomer Brian Hartline is already developing chemistry with Josh McCown, producing 51 yards and a touchdown. On the other hand, Dwayne Bowe is still unknown at this point. He hauled in just one pass after playing in only one game. Despite being slowed by injuries, I believe Bowe can return to greatness.
Cleveland’s defense has been consistent and we know what to expect. Our defense has been one of our strengths in recent years. Defense wins championships and the Browns have to start somewhere. In the preseason, the starters allowed 13 points in roughly five quarters of action.
The regular season kicks off on Thursday with a match up between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cleveland’s season doesn’t begin until Sunday as they travel to New York to square off with the Jets.
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