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Takeaways from Browns first preseason game

Here are some takeaways from the Browns 17-11 loss in the preseason opener against the Packers

The Browns visited Lambeau field in Green Bay and dropped the first preseason game, 17-11. Here's a breakdown of some of the highlights and lowlights.

Mixed Reviews for RG3: Browns QB Robert Griffin III started with a bang as he hit WR Terrelle Pryor with a 49-yard strike on the first play from scrimmage to move the ball to the Packers' 31. However, after a fumbled snap lost three yards and two short passes to TE Gary Barnidge and Pryor move the ball to the 19, Griffin III threw an interception on a pass intended for Barnidge by Micah Hyde at the one.

“Don’t hurt ourselves," Griffin III said. "That’s on me. I’m the quarterback. I have to make sure we are not hurting ourselves with penalties or turnovers.”

 Hue Jackson said Griffin III looked good, with the exception of the interception. 

“He did, but at the same time, we can’t turn it over," he said. "We have to always be a team that takes care of the ball. It’s unfortunate, but we have to learn from it. Our team is fighting. Our defense did some good things" 

 Griffin III finished 4-of-8 for 67 yards with one interception. 

Summary: Griffin III stayed in the pocket and threw the ball pretty well without looking to run first. If he can continue to be effective from throwing in the pocket, the offense will be much more unpredictable in what they're trying to do.

Pryor Flashes: WR Terrelle Pryor made a diving catch on the first play from scrimmage picking up 49 yards. Pryor caught another pass for eight yards to finish with two receptions for 57 yards. QB Josh McCown tried to throw to the end zone to Pryor, but the pass was out of bounds.

“It was a great play by TP," Griffin III said. "He tracked the ball down and has been doing that all offseason and all of training camp. He made a play for us. We are going to need those kind of plays to win games.”

 Summary: Pryor played with a minor calf injury and is continually showing improvement and the ability to get open.

Not Much Running Room: The Browns running game was limited for the most part. RB Isaiah Crowell had just one carry for minus two yards RB Duke Johnson had an 11-yard gain in his only rushing attempt. RB Raheem Mostert had 43 yards on five carries, including a 27 yard run.RB Terrell Watson had 15 yards on five carries and caught two passes for six yards. 

"We have to shore up the run game," Jackson said. "I think special teams has done a great job. We are going to keep working as a team and we will be fine.”

Summary: Jackson wants to have a strong running game and it has not shown up in the early scrimmages in training camp or in the first preseason game. 

Who's at Right Tackle?: Rookie Spencer Drango is listed on the depth chart at right tackle, but Austin Pasztor started. Pasztor was beaten on a play early and Griffin III had to get rid of the ball sooner than he wanted to.

Summary: Neither Drango or Pasztor distinguished themselves in the first game. Time will tell if Pasztor or Drango is able to nail the job down or if Alvin Bailey or Shon Coleman will win the job.

Young Defenders: Rookie high draft picks DL Carl Nassib and Emmanuel Ogbah showed their athleticism, both had good production in the first game and combined for the Browns only two sacks. Nassib made a couple of stops in the run game and had a sack in the second quarter. Ogbah had a sack and led with six tackles. Second-year player, Xavier Cooper nearly sacked  QB Joe Callahan as he was able to gain one yard on third and long. Rookie LB Joe Schubert had four tackles and shot through and stopped the back on third-and short.

Summary:The Browns are going to need a pass rush from their ends with the absence of Desmond Bryant for the season. John Hughes has missed the past week for personal reasons and Armonty Bryant is facing a four-game suspension to start the season. The trio of Nassib, Ogbah and Cooper showed promise.

Higgins Makes Play: Of the three drafted wide receivers that played, WR Rashard Higgins was able to get into the end zone for the Browns first score. Fellow rookie QB Cody Kessler threw a 10-yard strike to Higgins in the corner of the end zone. 

Summary: Top pick Corey Coleman sat out with a hamstring injury, giving opportunity to Higgins, WR Ricardo Louis and WR Jordan Payton. Other than Higgins, the other drafted rookies did not get any catches.

Kicking Battle: K Patrick Murray hit a 46-yard field goal in his first attempt. Murray is in a battle with incumbent K Travis Coons.

Summary: Coons made all of his field goal attempts in his rookie season, with the exception of those that were blocked. Coons had four attempts blocked, so the Browns have made a concerted effort during the off-season to force Coons to get the trajectory up sooner. Murray kicked for Tampa Bay and is pushing Coons for the job.


Versatile Mostert: KR/PR/RB Raheem Mostert had a rough start fumbling the free kick after the Browns forced a safety early. He was the leading rusher with 43 yards on five carries, including a 27-yard run. Mistreat had a punt return for 24 yards and averaged 12 yards on kickoff returns. 

Gilbert Appears: Former eighth overall pick in the 2014  NFL Draft, CB Justin Gilbert started in place of CB Joe Haden. Gilbert gave up a couple of completions.

Meder Man: DL Jamie Meder shot through and combined with LB Tank Carder to drop RB James Starks in the end zone for a safety.

Hamlett Makes Play: TE Connor Hamlett continues to impress as he was able to get open in the end zone to catch a 25-yard pass from QB Josh McCown. Unfortunately, the play didn't stand as McCown had crossed the line of scrimmage.

Safety Game: Very rare in an NFL game is one safety, but there were three safeties in the first preseason game. The Browns had the first of the game, but QB Cody Kessler ran out of the back of the end zone for one and then was sacked in the end zone for the second. 

Rookie Mistakes: QB Cody Kessler entered the game and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass on his first play to WR Rashard Higgins. Kessler threw an incomplete pass to WR Marlon Moore on the two-point conversion. On the next series, Kessler ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety trying to elude the pass rush.

Kessler was sacked late in the game for his second safety of the game.

Pecking Order: Robert Griffin III started at quarterback and was followed by QB Josh McCown. QB Austin Davis as the third quarterback and QB Cody Kessler was fourth. McCown was 1-4 for 5 yards. He did have a 25-yard touchdown pass called back on a penalty that he committed.Davis was 4-9 for 32 yards. 

Big Pick: DB Eric Patterson had a key interception to stop a Packers scoring drive in the fourth quarter.

Davis Hurt: QB Austin Davis suffered concussion-like  symptoms when he was hit in the head trying to run by a knee. Davis was 4-9 for 32 yards. WR Ranell Hall was carted off with a right ankle injury.Hall had two receptions for 27 yards before the injury. ESPN reported that WR Terrelle Pryor had an X-ray on his hand and RB Isaiah Crowell had X-rays on his shoulder.


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