Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor
Consider this column as “The Tweets That Were Not Sent”. I was at the game in Sec. 116, getting a nice end zone view of the action, and I attempted to send out more than 50 tweets during the game.
Unfortunately, the Ford Field Wi-Fi and my Virgin Mobile 4G had other ideas. Not one of them sent after the pregame, and my phone petered out sometime in the late third quarter.
From the starters:
Most of the game notes here are negative, which could be a function of my anger at my phone for not working or that I just paid $9 for a Bud Light when brews from Goose Island and Labatt’s were the same price.
–There needs to be more concern about Stephen Tulloch at middle linebacker. He’s been merely okay in camp, and in the first two Cleveland drives he got exposed. On the throw to the backside flat it was Tulloch who pinned himself inside and lost track of his responsibility. The very next play he badly overran the gap and allowed yards. That happened on another run as well. As was the case towards the end of last season, he was a fairly easy target for blockers and struggled to stack and shed.
–Rashean Mathis looked great. He blanketed Josh Gordon on a downfield route on the first drive, sticking on his hip and easily anticipating the route. On Cleveland’s second drive he closely marked shifty Andrew Hawkins on a 3rd down route where once again Mathis read the route before Hawkins even ran it. He also made a nice solo tackle in space on Cleveland’s first play.
–Reggie Bush had an ugly drop but he seemed disinterested in doing anything but staying healthy. He knows the offense and he’ll perform once it matters.
–Corey Hilliard struggled at right tackle. There was a sack where half was on him and the other half on Jed Collins, who was very late to recognize his assignment as Hilliard got torched. Hilliard could not sustain run blocks a couple of times. I did not get any notes down on LaAdrian Waddle.
–For his part, Collins out-quicked Barkevious Mingo on a swing pass. That was more about Mingo being completely out of control in pursuit than anything nifty by Collins, however.
–If Kevin Ogletree really wants the third WR gig, and it’s clearly his to lose from watching camp, he cannot have drops like the one in this game. Kris Durham can do that, too.
From the rookies:
–Eric Ebron had trouble getting separation when he wasn’t lined up out in space. For Cleveland, linebacker Christian Kirksey looked excellent in coverage on his fellow rookie. Kirksey was the Browns’ best defensive player in the second half.
–Travis Swanson continued to dig the hole he’s carving in camp with yet another bad snap that led to a fumble. He got absolutely smoked on one pass rush. Also Swanson got away with a chop block on Moore’s first drive. Rodney Austin wasn’t very impressive either in the competition to be the game-day active interior OL reserve, but he’s been better than Swanson throughout camp. In the four times I’ve seen Swanson in person now, that’s 9 botched snaps. That’s 8 too many. He also didn’t help himself with a poor blocking effort on the Miller kick return after the Browns went up 12-6.
–Andrew Peacock rebounded from a terrible drop (ironically on Orlovsky’s best throw of the night) on his first play and made some nice catches. His routes looked crisp and he definitely brought needed energy to the third unit. However, it was his missed block that led to the hit on George Winn that produced the fumble. Chad Abram had to choose between two targets because Peacock whiffed. It was not his only missed block, either. Nice play by Justin Staples on that fumble, and he made another play on the prior drive too.
–Cornelius Lucas was cleanly beaten on the sizeable negative run by Steven Miller. Worse, Lucas looked plodding in trying to recover after being a turnstile on the left edge.
–Abram didn’t do much on the offense, but he threw a fantastic block on Jeremy Ross’ second kick return.
–Nevin Lawson did not impress. Not showing much of a feel for the routes, though to his credit he’s got very quick reactions and great closing burst. Lawson also made a strong play on the long Browns kick return in the third quarter. He sprinted from across the formation and chased down Moore, with a little help from Giorgio Tavecchio doing a good job of getting in the way to force Moore to decelerate.
–Jerome Couplin played quite well. I focused on him intently on Tyler Thigpen’s first drive as Cleveland’s QB. He showed quick recognition and made the proper reads. On one play he noticed LB Julian Stanford (won’t survive first cut) overplaying the outside and adjusted himself to compensate. He flew in to make a nice tackle on Charles Johnson on a play to the other side of the field. Then there was his destruction of MarQuies Gray–perfectly legal too.
–Kyle Van Noy should have had a forced fumble instead of a PD on the red zone play. That ball was caught and extricated. Still, it was nice to see him make a big play when the Lions needed one.
–Larry Webster did not do much but it seemed like the Browns were (not intentionally) running away from him most of the time.
–Caraun Reid had a couple of outstanding penetrations while lined up as a shaded 1-tech. He did a great job of turning his shoulders to avoid the initial block and clearing his hips through the gap quickly. There were a couple of runs where he was absolutely washed out, however. Focus on the positives with Reid here, because they’ve been fleeting in camp.
–Kellen Moore played very well. He was the story line after the game, and rightly so; he’s clearly been the superior quarterback to Dan Orlovsky throughout camp and especially this week. The arm strength is still grossly inadequate, but Moore continues to make the right decision with quickness and decisiveness. The touchdown throw to Fuller was a beauty. He also threw a pass to Patrick Edwards that was perfectly placed in a small window. That play got wiped out by a defensive hold on Leon McFadden, but it was a throw that Orlovsky has proven he cannot make this summer.
–George Winn–other than the fumble–was fantastic. He runs with purpose from the second he breaks on the snap, and he’s a powerful handful for tacklers. I like that he embarrassed Tank Carder in space on a swing pass with a little delay move and then blew past him. That fumble though…
–On the play where Moore nicely went through his progression and hit Miller for a nice gain (the play before the bad snap/fumble), Alex Bullard did a fantastic job in pass protection and then flowed out in space to make another block.
–Cassius Vaughn got himself a great PD in trail coverage technique in the end zone. Didn’t notice him other than that one play.
–Chris Greenwood gave up too much room on the sidelines on a couple of routes, though I came away feeling generally positive about his performance. He didn’t get torched or sucked in on double moves, which is progress from camp practices.
–Jonte Green only made the notes for his pass interference call, which was the correct call.
–Devin Taylor notched a QB pressure and hit after excellent use of violent hands and power. It’s tough in general to evaluate the defensive linemen because the Browns 2nd OL unit is truly atrocious; not one of Cleveland’s reserves would sniff Detroit’s second unit.
–Isa Abdul Quddus played a great game. He was consistently in the right spot other than one great throw by Manziel that beat his help coverage by a step. He was setting up the back end coverage most of his time in the game. It was fitting his INT capped off the game.
–Travis Lewis played like he knows his only shot to make the Lions is on special teams. He was everywhere on coverage units, very impressive.
–Corey Fuller caught the game-winning TD, but he also did a good job drawing a holding penalty on the woefully overmatched Leon McFadden on that same drive. It was a ticky-tack call but Fuller sold the contact nicely. Fuller also ran past Pierre Desir and had three steps on him on a post route on an earlier drive. But what was really nice is that Fuller made the tackle on the ensuing kick return right after his TD catch.
–I’m writing about Johnny Manziel for a piece at RealGM, which should be posted no later than Monday AM. Look for my thoughts on Mr. Football there, please.
Tags: Alex Bullard, Andrew Peacock, Caraun Reid, Christian Kirksey, Cleveland Browns, Corey Hilliard, Cornelius Lucas, Dan Orlovsky, Darius Slay, George Winn, Jed Collins, Jerome Couplin, Kellen Moore, Nevin Lawson, Rashean Mathis, Stephen Tulloch, Travis Lewis, Travis Swanson