New coaching staff and new attitude, but same results.
The Cleveland Browns overall laid a dud yesterday in front of a fired up First Energy Stadium. This game had some highs and lows for both teams, but in the end, the Miami Dolphins overcame a 7-6 half time deficit to defeat the Browns 23-10. The Browns have now dropped nine straight home openers.
From the sold out energized First Energy Stadium to all the new spectacles before the game, all indications were the Browns would be 1-0 after 4:00 PM. Unfortunately, Joe Philbin’s Dolphins had other plans. In the first half alone, the Dolphins forced three turnovers. Brandon Weeden was picked off twice by ex-Brown Dimitri Patterson, both on tipped passes. The question remains – is Weeden the quarterback that will take this team to the promise land?
After establishing Trent Richardson early on their very first drive, Richardson was non-existent after the first half. Richardson, who should have been a huge key to this contest, carried the ball just 13 times for 47 yards. Weeden threw to him twice for 30 yards. It was also very apparent that Richardson was never in the game on crucial downs. Why? This is very Pat Shurmur-like mentality by new head coach Rob Chudzinski and unacceptable.
There were two huge positives in this game for the Browns – Jordan Cameron and the Cleveland run defense. The new look Cleveland front held Miami to just 20 yards rushing. Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller could not get anything positive going throughout the game. This is a very positive early sign for the defense. The Browns were also missing starting defensive end Ahtyba Rubin.
A former fourth round draft pick out of USC, Cameron had a monster day and was a huge safety valve for Weeden. The Browns’ athletic tight end caught nine passes for 108 yards and an acrobatic touchdown catch in the back corner of the end zone. With the exception of a dropped pass that resulted in an interception, Cameron had a career day and showed signs of things to come.
Early observations of Weeden in the upcoming season are not good. While Weeden looked better in exhibition play, he looked awful on opening day. The only difference this year was he didn’t get swallowed by an oversized American flag. Like a year ago, the second year quarterback stared down his receivers and never seemed to go through his progressions. However, the highly touted offensive line did not do their job and fill in guard, Oneil Cousins was horrendous. Cousins, making his first regular season start at right guard in his career, was flagged four times for various penalties. Weeden was under duress all day long as defensive end Cameron Wake led the Miami charge with three sacks.
So where do the Browns go from here?
Coach Chud needs to get back to the drawing board and quickly learn how to make correct adjustments during the game. Norv Turner needs to give Richardson the ball and let him set the tone on offense. Richardson getting only 15 touches in the opener is ridiculous. Otherwise, playing the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium this coming Sunday could be over before it even starts.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Cleveland Browns Correspondent for The SportsFix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportfix.net.