Browns Rams LIVE Thoughts

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Browns Rams LIVE Thoughts

This is a VERY thin crowd tonight.
Nice play on 3rd and 2 to Bess
Good 37 yard pass to Gordon
Runs are going nowhere.
Good pass protection vs blitz
Draw play gets the 1st.  Great call.
The pressure up the gut allowed the blocked pass.  It was not Weeden’s fault.
What Cameron misses Little catches.  Bad play by the TE.  Weeden is not showing much touch.  The pass to Little via Cameron was way too hot.
Again run gets nothing
Two incompletes force a FG.  Clev 3 St coming up.
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Penalty on Groves (head butt) gives the Rams good field position.
Bradford had all day to throw.  That is not a good sign
On 2nd down Sheard had some pressure.
Blitz fails to get pressure.  1ST down
Jackson attacks the run which is a good sign
Browns blitz and the screen catches them for 17 yards
RB Pead fumbles on a taylor hit and Skrene picks it up.
Jackson shows good vision on the run.
Gordon breaks a tackle for a nice gain.
Barnidge with a good catch.
Greco with a good block down field on the screen.
Cameron with a nice pattern and catch
Jackson great effort on the run right.  Broke a tackle
O line gets no push on run up the gut on the 2nd down run to the 2 and a half
Pass to Lewis TD Cleve 10-0
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KO +8
Jackson made the tackle 5 yards down the field again
Skrine with a nice play
Robertson does a great job of getting coverage on 3rd 5
90 yard punt return by Benjamin Clev 17-0
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KO +8
Winn rocks the runner for a gain of 3
Blitz doesn’t get there and the pass goes for 59 yards.  Ward did not keep deep against Givens.
Run up the gut by Richardson gets 12
Up the gut again for 5
Givens gets the TD.  The Rams #1s move right down the field against the 2nd team D of the Browns
CL 17-7
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PN Butler -5
Gilkey good push on the run
Butler pulls back too quick but didn’t get called
Campbell looks sharp on a read and a quick pass to
Jackson looks good running and catching.
Marecic can’t block at all.
Butler pulls early again and gets away with it.
Campbell scrambles for the 1st down.
Norwood with a nice pattern and catch.
Jackson catches and makes a tackler miss to get 4 yards
Campbell missed Ogbonnaya on 3rd and 3
41 FG Graham CL 20-7
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KO +12 Graham
Groves gets the sack.
Middle of the D gives up a 12 yard run.
Blitz doesn’t get home but the WR missed the catch.
After the 2 min warning the Browns didn’t get the snap call and blow the 3rd down play with a sack.
The team was not organized and missed a chance to keep the Rams off the field in the 2 min.
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Rams get the ball on their 40 after a poor punt
Blitz By 2nd team is not getting to the QB.
Mingo gets to the QB even after a trip attempt
Fort and Wade stop a QB run by Davis.
54 yard FG GOOD CL 20-10
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On a 1st down run Mingo stood his ground and turned the run inside.
The 2nd team Zone is not working.  The players are not breaking down in their zones to cover in time.
Sanford does a great job getting a sack.
Mingo puts pressure on Davis and forced him to throw it away.
P Davis gets held as he rushed
JMJ made a tackle that Fort missed on 3rd and 26.
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Hoyer in at QB missed a WIDE open TE Davis
Then Hoyer almost threw a pick but the receiver rounded off the route and did not get open.
Three and out again.
Stacy runs for 6 up the gut
A second run gets the 1st
T Wade makes a good play and Quick missed the pass
Kitchin levels Stacy on a reception
T Wade called for interference.
Bademosi provides great coverage on a deep pass
Davis misses a wide open 81
55 y FG Cl 20-13
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The Browns are able this year to throw screen passes unlike with the Shurmur regime
Jackson is running hard from the handoff or with the reception.
Cooper gets on the ground to get the ball.  Good catch.
Roosevelt makes a great catch but Hoyer threw it out of bounds.
FGA 54 WIDE LEFT BY Bogetay
On 3rd and 4 the Browns total blitz fails.  WR Wide open get the ball to the 30
Cole does a great job staying home against a reverse.
Staples makes the 4th down play tackle of QB Davis to turn the ball over to the Browns.
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Paul Davis deflected the ball and Staples picked it off.
Maysonet has very good vision and speed.  Can he take a big hit?  He also tries to take the ball outside too much.  He has to stay with the hole called unless he sees a bigger opening.
Critical 3rd and 3 Hoyer finds a wide open Robinson and hits him for the closing TD.
CL 27-13 3:01 LEFT 4TH QUARTER
KO+6
ST allows a return to the 30
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38 misses Radway and the Rams score 58 yards CL27-19 after the unsuccessful 2 point attempt
Edwards catches the on-side kick at the 50
Maysonet has surprising strength running inside.  He breaks tackles well.
Browns 3 and out again with a punt going into the endzone netting just 21 yards.
15 double covered gets by the deepest and drops the ball inside the 5
Holding on Kearney gives the Rams life
The Hail Mary almost scores.  The receiver Blake had the ball in the endzone but Justin Cole pulled the ball way to end the game.
My Conclusions:
Offense
              The first string O played better than I expected.  The Rams are good on D and the Browns moved the ball through the air well.  The running game suffered without Richardson or Hardesty.  While the loss of the later is no big deal, the loss of TRich is a major issue.
              The #1 O line is not getting much of a push up the middle.  The lack of timing with the 3rd and 4th backs didn’t help.  But the issue runs deeper than that.  Last year the Browns could not convert 3rd and short opportunities.  RB Lewis looked good and will only get better with more work.  Jackson is running hard but there are not many holes to run through.  The total O depends on the play action pass.  Without an effective running game the D will not react to the play action.
              The O line did pretty well protecting the QBs.  The Rams D line is very good but the #1 and #2 O lines both held their own in the passing game.  That was good to see.
              I am also concerned about the inability to convert inside the 20.  The O will have to be more effective inside the 20.  It was good to see Weeden throw the 2 yard TD pass to take the lead to Lewis.  Last year the team had major issues scoring TDs inside the 20.
              The Browns 2nd and 3rd teams are not as good as those of the Rams or a lot of other teams as well.  There is talent there but it will take time to allow those units to develop.  The coaching staff is focusing on getting the first team ready for the opener.  At this point in the season that is the most important thing.
              The bottom line on the O is that there were no turnovers and the Browns got 2.  Weeden looked very good and Hoyer looked OK.  Weeden dealt better with pressure around him and does not stare down the receiver as often as he did last year.  If an NFL QB stares down his receiver he ends up throwing picks more often than completions.  Hoyer is not seeing the field consistently and that is a problem.  While he may have the best grasp of the system, he does not have the arm to ever be a starter.
              It is important that the Offense scored 20 points.  That is more than they averaged last season.  But the team won only because the special teams scored.  Otherwise the game would have gone to overtime tied at 20 all.
DEFENSE:
              The big question of this season was if the Browns new 3-4 could get pressure on the passer and still do better stopping the run.  The answer after game 1 of the preseason is NO on both counts.  Even in the all out blitz the Browns were not getting to the QB.  There were some plays by the front 7 but often they were due as much to errors by the O line than outstanding scheme or D play.
              I was concerned about Sheard making the transition to LB from DE.  We had heard that he was doing very well but I was not impressed so far.  Jackson sometimes attacks the run but too often still makes tackles 4 or 5 yards down field.  Robertson made some big plays.  He showed he can be the coverage ILB.
              Without the hammer Jackson who is now in Atlanta, the Rams still got big yards up the gut against the Browns 3-4.  Had the score not been so lopsided, the Rams running game would have done a lot more damage.  I was encouraged with the play of Mingo.  He was running around and making plays.
              The D will get better as it internalizes the new scheme.  But against a questionable line with an extra injury the front 7 was not getting pressure on the QB without a blitz.  That is not a good sign.
              The issues with the defensive pass coverage will be exacerbated if the blitz is not getting to the QB.  The loss of the 2nd and 3rd CBs hurt but it was the safety play was particularly horrendous.   The safeties were beaten early and often.  That was an issue last year and based on the Rams game it has not gotten much better.  The Rams are weak at WR.  Even so, they were often running open through the Browns backfield.  Ward is much better at the line than in deep coverage.  The team’s failure to get a quality vet FS is hard to understand.
Bottom line on Defense:
              This team has a lot of work to do.  When they blitz they have to get to the QB.  The team is not good enough in the backfield to cover up for a poor rush.  There were some good plays but not enough.
Special Teams:
              I have been very hard on ST Coach Tabor.  I blamed him for not cutting a long snapper that lost his stroke and a punter that was damaged goods.  But despite losing the long time kicker Dawson, the special teams did very well.  The 4th quarter punt into the endzone from the 41 was pathetic but other than that they were solid.  Great PR by Benjamin for the TD and a solid blocking job for him.  The FG kicking was OK.  The issues of not cutting bad ST players may have been Shurmur not Tabor.
              I am not ready to endorse Tabor yet but am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Overall:  The Browns won.  That alone is different.  They beat a team that is solid and may challenge for a playoff spot this season.  The win was good.  But as always there are many things this team needs to work on to contend in the AFC North.  For more on the Browns/Rams game check out our weekly podcast on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.


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