TAMPA BAY, FL — On a warm and humid Friday evening on the Gulf Coast, the Cleveland Browns choose the wrong night to suffer a mild wardrobe malfunction in a 13-12 loss in what is known in football as the Dress Rehearsal.
With apologies to Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson for their infamous Super Bowl Halftime Show snafu from years ago, but the much over-hyped Browns offense may have given theirs a run for their money in terms of sheer shock value.
Yes, it was only a pre-season game in which the Browns didn’t play key starters such as WR’s Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr, TE David Njoku and RB Nick Chubb, but to paraphrase Spider-Man, with great expectations comes big expectations.
Some may consider this knee-jerk or borderline click-bait in going after a team’s performance in a game that doesn’t count, but in listening to QB Baker Mayfield and his postgame comments after he went 10-26 for 72 yards and one interception, you could tell that he wasn’t happy with his effort.
While the offense looked utterly offensive against s bunch of future security guards and Walmart grocery baggers, the Browns defense continued to be a bully in sacking Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston five times.
As I stated during my observations at Day 2 of Browns training camp in Berea here, Cleveland’s defense is going to be a problem as pass rusher Olivier Vernon and DT Sheldon Richardson gave fans–and opposing offensive lines–a glimpse of what to expect in harassing, getting consistent pressure and penetration against the Bucs all night.
The Browns offense might garner all the headlines this coming season, but don’t sleep on the defense, as they have the look and talent be a borderline top-five unit in 2019
While last night was just a meaningless preseason exhibition game down in South Florida, last night showed some potential issues-mainly the lack of quality depth and lack of chemistry on offense as well as potential issues at offensive line–and maybe it was just a one-off, but hopefully get cleaned up before the games really count.