Random Thoughts of a Wandering Mind

Watching the conservativeness of the Browns offense is gut-wrenching, even if its the preseason.

Could it be the Browns have a nice wealth of depth at various positions, but lack the top-end talent to be exceptional?

-- Watching the conservativeness of the Browns offense is gut-wrenching. I understand it's the preseason and they don't want to give teams much on tape, but it can be troubling to watch. Yes, the Browns show much more in practice and this should translate to the regular season.

-- I enjoyed watching the play of LB L.J. Fort against the Green Bay Packers. An undrafted player, Fort has displayed excellent instincts and flows to the ball very well. There is little doubt in my mind that Fort makes the team coming out of camp.

-- Rookie LB Craig Robertson is simply an active dynamic. Whether in practice or in preseason game play, Robertson continues to show up. In what is evolving as a very young and talented group at LB, Robertson could be playing himself onto the roster.

-- LB Kaluka Maivia again played adequately within the scheme of the defense.

-- Rookie LB James-Michael Johnson, outside of an interception was quiet.

-- Another rookie, CB Trevin Wade has the look of a player that can play in this league for some time. Wade has been a player the coaching staff has noticed since rookie camp and he continues to grow as a player. Again, Wade is yet another player that plays instinctively.

-- DB David Sims is going to make the Browns final cuts interesting. Sims is athletic, physical and can cover some ground. At a position of some indecision, Sims could be on the cusp of a roster position with continued good play and awareness.

-- Coming back from injury, S T.J. Ward is much more aggressive and quick. It appears an off-season of working out has improved his overall physical abilities, which the Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron is very happy to see. The safety position following Ward's foot injury a season ago struggled.

-- The more I watch rookie DT John Hughes, the more I see a player capable of playing either the one or three-gap technique. Hughes is so stout at the point of attack he is displaying the ability to open up the other DT for penetration opportunities. Surprisingly, on the occasions Hughes has lined-up off guard, he has shown the ability to shoot the gap.

-- Hughes played at a high level Thursday night, as did the other starting defensive linemen for the Browns. DE's Jabaal Sheard and Emmanuel Stephens were much stronger against the run at the point. Case in point is how the LB's flowed to the ball consistently without having to fend off an offensive lineman. Rookie Billy Winn grows by the day, as evidenced by his ability to stay strong at the point and get by the guard on numerous occasions.

-- The interior of the Browns defensive line should be a much improved area with the addition of Hughes and Winn. Ahtyba Rubin is back practicing and Phil Taylor could return in late October.

-- It was nice to see DE Marcus Benard back on the field. Benard was active against the run, but isn't nearly as quick with his hand down at DE when rushing the QB.

-- Funny to say, but the Browns missed the vertical threat presence of rookie WR Travis Benjamin against the Packers. Benjamin is a threat on any given play, which is a different look than the Browns get with Greg Little, Josh Gordon, Mohamed Massaquoi and others.

-- Route running of the two WR's counted on heavily heading into the 2012 season must improve. Both Greg Little and Josh Gordon ran some very good routes and some poor routes. The Browns coaching staff must continue to preach precision and repetition to the two youngsters.

-- As for rookie QB Brandon Weeden, he looked better than he did a week ago against the Detroit Lions and should look better in the weeks to come.

-- I don't think QB Colt McCoy has ever thrown the ball better than he has this summer. McCoy came to camp with something to prove and I believe he has demonstrated he can play in this league. I wouldn't trade the third-year QB, as a team needs no less than two capable QB's in this league now.

-- It's disappointing that TE Evan Moore didn't show up Thursday night. Moore is a talented receiver and at times believe the Browns offensive staff doesn't know how to utilize his talent. I still see Moore as a WR in the TE rotation.

-- RB Montario Hardesty looked solid in extended playing time against the Packers. Hardesty, about ten-pounds lighter than a season ago appears much quicker and confident. Outside of being stripped of the ball when fighting for yardage on his first carry, the RB from Tennessee has looked better than he ever has in a Browns uniform.

-- RB Chris Ogbonnaya was the odd man out against the Packers, while Hardesty, Brandon Jackson and Adonis Thomas received the opportunities. I strongly believe the Browns staff needed to get carries for Hardesty and wanted to see exactly what they have in Jackson (coming back from injury) and Thomas (rookie). The Browns know who Ogbonnaya is and what he can do.

-- Still not impressed with the pass blocking of the Browns. Granted, the Lions and Packers can dial-up pressure with the best of them, but the Packers were reserved and displayed the tendency to play coverage rather than blitz Thursday night in Green Bay. With four of the five starters returning from a season ago, it is somewhat concerning to see pressure coming from the interior of the line.

-- Still not concerned with rookie RT Mitchell Schwartz.

-- RG Shawn Lauvao performed better against the Packers.

-- Rookie offensive lineman Ryan Miller performed reasonably well against the Packers. Miller was much stronger at the point of attack and his footwork was much improved.

-- Veteran OL Oniel Cousins loses focus and gets lazy. He was beaten numerous times off the snap and his special teams play was terrible.


-- CB Trevin Wade left the sideline via cart for what is believed to have been an arm or foot/leg injury. The medical staff had checked Wade's arm and foot on the sideline prior to taking him to the locker room. Early indications are the injury is not too serious, but the rookie will be examined in Cleveland on Friday to gauge the severity.

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