Sunday, September 11, 2016

The pain begins-Eagles clip Browns 29-10

The long dreaded season is among us as one of the weaker teams on the Cleveland schedule pulled away in the second half as the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Cleveland Browns in Philadelphia 29-10.
Isaiah Crowell rushed for 62 yards (Much of it in garbage time) and the Browns only touchdown in the defeat.
The Browns (0-1) return to Cleveland for the home opener next week against Baltimore,who won their opener at home over Buffalo.

This will be a longer Brownie Bits than usual because I have so much material.

Brownie Bits

1) The elephant in the room-Carson Wentz and his debut stands as what most want to discuss.
As most of you know,the Browns had the chance to select Wentz and instead traded the pick for a package that included the Eagles first rounders in 2016 and 17 along with a second rounder in 2018.
Wentz threw for two touchdowns and 278 yards and generally looked poised in the pocket with a big and accurate arm.
I came away liking him..

2) But,here is the caveat-he did it at home against perhaps the least talented team in football.
Keep in mind the defense that he did against and with very little adversity.
I liked what I saw,but let's not anoint him as the next great passer quite yet..

3) I didn't like much from Robert Griffin's game.
I thought he was inaccurate on short and medium throws and even on one of the two big plays that he made in the long passing game (the one to Corey Coleman) was more of a lob/punt that Coleman made a play on more than Griffin made a good throw.
I'm not ready to quit on Griffin yet,but I would not grade him highly off his first start..

4) There were some drops that didn't help.
Gary Barnidge dropped both passes to him.Corey Coleman dropped one and Terrelle Pryor dropped one as well.
Cannot blame Griffin for those.

5) I wasn't even excited about Isaiah Crowell's 62 yards because I saw how he gained the majority of them-garbage time..
I did like Crowell's hustle covering punts,so he is buying in...

6) The Browns did have things going their way once in the second quarter as they drove into Eagle territory,when a Griffin pass was re-directed at the line of scrimmage and picked off by Rodney McLeod.
The score was 10-7 Eagles,but a touchdown would have given Cleveland the lead and maybe swung momentum.
Tough to blame Griffin too much for that interception as those things do happen,but they seem to happen so much to the Browns..

7)  Another play that seemed to take the air out of Cleveland came after a stop in third quarter action and the Browns trailing just 13-10.
Cameron Erving snapped the ball over Robert Griffin's head and the Browns had to get the ball out of the end zone to avoid a touchdown.
Philadelphia settled for a safety,but the Eagles controlled the game thereafter..

8) Cameron Erving is a major problem and not just because of the snap over Griffin's head.
Fletcher Cox bullied Erving around the field and even though Cox is among the best in the game,Erving appears to just not be strong enough for the NFL game.
Yet another indictment of the Ray Farmer era (error?)

9) I suspected Hue Jackson was going to be a coach that throws everything at the wall in order to give an undermanned team their best shot to win,but his first half fake punt that saw the ball in the hands of Duke Johnson for a six yard loss was ill-timed.
It reminded me of the shotgun draw play in Tecmo Bowl when the defense calls it correctly and swamps the ball carrier.

10) The defense wasn't great,but not terrible.
Not that I'd say I'm not concerned,especially with Joe Haden getting beaten again deep and looking more like 2015 Haden than Pro Bowl Haden,but it could have been worse.
It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for the effort to fade..

11) The player that I really like is defensive end Carl Nassib,the third rounder from Penn State.
Nassib is a high motor player that makes tackles at defensive end (doesn't always happen),knocks down passes (one in this one) and rushes the passer (one sack).
I grabbed Nassib for my fantasy team and he reminds me a little of J.J. Watt physically and never quit attitude.
Nassib isn't the athlete that Watt is,but that is the player that he reminds me of..

12) The defense will need to make more things happen because other than Nassib and Christian Kirksey,it looked a lot like same old Browns-making tackles downfield instead of forcing long distance third downs.
Kirksey might be the Browns next D'Qwell Jackson-rolling up big tackle numbers with few of them being of impact.

13) Robert Griffin injured his left shoulder late in the game,but I'm already thinking forward-is it possible (possible,not campaigning for change already) that Josh McCown might be a better fit for the offense?
Hear me out-McCown has the bigger arm,the strength of this offense might be the speed downfield of Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman,perhaps McCown might be able to get the ball in their hands more?
Just a theory,but one that might be tested if McCown starts against Baltimore next week.

14) Finally,it's tough to feel good off this loss.
Not that it was unexpected,but that this was one of the weaker teams on the schedule.
I still think the Browns will get 1 or 2 wins,but this is going to get darker before it gets lighter.....

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