CLEVELAND – While it may be pre-season, the newly revamped Cleveland Browns offense and defense looked as good as advertised in their 27-19 against win against the St Louis Rams.
Below are some quick hits and observations from the Browns-Rams pre-season game.
Weeden Confident And Poised in New Offense – After a long offseason of questions as to whether he may be the guy in Cleveland, quarterback Brandon Weeden looked at home in new offensive coordinator’s vertical passing system against the St Louis Rams.
Weeden, the 22nd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State would lead two scoring drives, of 67 yards and 74 yards, complete 10-of-13 passes for 112 yards and throw one touchdown, a two-yard pass to newly acquired Dion Lewis at the beginning of the second quarter.
Under a much more friendly offense that suits his strengths, Weeden looked more confident and poised in completing passes to ten different receivers.
RB Lewis Looks Like A Steal – It appears the Browns may have unearthed a real gem in Lewis, the former Pitt and Eagles running back would finish five carries for 12 yards and three receptions for 22 yards receiving. The diminutive Lewis, at 5’8 and 195 pounds would also return the opening kickoff 31 yards, could be used in a Darren Sproles-like role in Turner’s offense out of the backfield as a receiver in Cleveland.
New 3-4 Defense More Aggressive – On defense, the newly retooled 3-4 defense under former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, looked every bit more aggressive than the passive Browns’ defenses of the past, as they would pressure Sam Bradford all night.
Third-year defensive lineman Phil Taylor would force former Cincinnati Bearcats running back Isaiah Pead to fumble, which would be recovered by cornerback Buster Skrine in the first quarter.
PR/KR Benjamin Sparks Special Teams – Up 10-0, second-year wide receiver/return specialist Travis Benjamin would return a Rams punt 91 yards to give Cleveland a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.
Safe to say, I think Cleveland has found the heir apparent to long-time fan favorite Joshua Cribbs.
Top Pick LB Mingo Has Ho-Hum Debut – the former Tigers standout Barkevious Mingo, selected sixth overall by the Browns would have an average and quiet night in recording two quarterback hits and one hit one special teams. While it is his first game as a NFL player, one cannot help but notice how light and easy Rams’ offensive lineman had their way with him at times, and while Mingo has speed, Clearly, he will need to learn some new moves and bulk up during and after the 2013-14 season.
QB’s Campbell and Hoyer Look Effective – While neither will ever be expected to supplant Weeden as Browns starter, former Oakland Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell looked like the effective stop-gap backup that he will be expected to be, as he would complete six of seven passes for 37 yards, scramble for 12 yards and former local prep school standout, Brian Hoyer (Cleveland St. Ignatius) would complete 10-of-14 passes for 100 yards and throw one touchdown.
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