After 3 preseason games the Cleveland Browns sit at 2-1, and what does that mean? Absolutely nothing! Preseason games are where teams practice situational scenarios that they’ve worked on in practice. This allows them to implement exactly what they practiced for weeks in actual game action.
So what should you expect from a preseason game? You want to see your team have continued success and that varies per team. For the Browns, you want them to show growth and you don’t want them to look like they’re confused or overmatched.
In Friday August 24th’s game against the Philadelphia was the first game was the first time you could their age showed. They looked like a team full of skill players who 4 years or less of experience. Brandon Weeden looked like a rookie who wasn’t ready to face a defense who has already played a year together under their current scheme.
However, all is not lost when it comes to the Browns and what we should expect them to be. First of all, expectations should be low considering your starting quarterback and running back are rookies. A rookie in Josh Gordon who is expected to be a big contributor in the offense along with a rookie right tackle and second year Greg Little. So to expect them to be a core primed to go 10-6 is a little homerish.
What one should look for is consistency from the offense. Do they come out of their breaks hard, is Weeden making good decisions or is it a case of the defense is just making good plays against them? Does Trent Richardson run hard, is he hitting the holes hard, and picking up blitzes? If you can answer yes to the questions more than no, then the Browns will be in every game.
The aspect of the game we should set the bar high is converting in the red zone. Now yes that does require them to get that far down the field, however they should have a enough chances, as Weeden has shown the ability to thrown the ball down field and should give the Browns a much improved vertical passing attack. Nonetheless, with Richardson, Little, Josh Cribbs, Gordon and multiple tight ends who can go up and get the ball against smaller defenders, there shouldn’t be many times they can’t get 6 points once they’re within shouting distance of the goal line.
There will be times the offense will flutter, considering you have Mitchell Schwartz a rookie at right tackle which has been an issue for almost a decade for the Browns. The bright side is, through 3 preseason games Schwartz has improved and has been solid, and as the season progresses he should get better. He’ll have plenty of chances with the Eagles being the first game of the season, along with the Bengals, Ravens and Steelers twice this year.
What you would like to see from the offense this season in the end is an improvement in moving the ball up and down the field, giving themselves more opportunities to score. The Browns ranked 30th in points scored and 29th in yards. The defense is solid, however you defense can’t hold every opponent under 20 points. So if the Browns offense can add some crooked numbers to the scoreboard their record is bound to improve.
Ending on this note, be cautious of bright spots on the offensive side of the ball. There are a lot of rookies and players with minimum experience that will get plenty of playing time. They will show flashes of brilliance, followed up with plays that make you say ‘WHAT WAS HE DOING!’ No need to fret though, as they get deeper into the season they’ll get better, the jitters will soon pass and they’ll play like players who belong in the NFL compared to being in awe of being in the NFL.