It has been easy to find the negatives about the Cleveland Browns, not just this year but for years and years. You will often find me seeking positives in the midst of the struggles. That isn't to assume that there are not negatives because there are but why not try to be a little happy.
So on to the positives and since we scored 10 points, 10 seem like a good number to go with:
The Robert Griffin III Question is Answered
Some, maybe few, would say otherwise but the Browns know that RG3 is just not the answer to their QB question. While he looked good in Preseason, based on his injury history and small frame the Browns can't count on him in the future.
The Griffin/QB question was going to hang over the team all season. Hue Jackson had made it clear that he was building the offense around Griffin. He was either going to be successful or not but, if he didn't get hurt, the decision may have been divisive.
Barring something crazy, Griffin's future with the Browns will be short lived.
The Offense Found a Rhythm
In the 2nd Quarter, down 10 - 0, the Browns had a 7 play, 75-yard touchdown drive. The big play was the deep ball to Terrelle Pryor but the Browns were able to march down the field to make the game competitive. After a Eagles 3 and out, the Browns were driving again with a 7 play, 52-yard drive that ended with the deflected interception.
Deflections happen. While some blamed Griffin, tipped passes for INTs happen based on luck most often.
With only 27 seconds left, the Browns made it 33 yards before halftime then finished a quick drive after half with a field goal, all the yardage came on the deep ball to Corey Coleman.
Down 13 - 10, the Browns offense showed some life, Jackson seemed to find his play calling rhythm at the perfect time and the game was in their grasp. Gives hope that the Browns can be competitive if the offense can get into this zone more often.
Yards Per Play, the Defense Was Better than 2015
The Browns defense was on the field for 40 minutes, way too much. While the 29 points and 403 total yards are not great, the Browns improved on their terrible defense from last year. Last year, the Browns were 30th in the league giving up 6.1 yards per play. In Week 1, against the Eagles, the Browns "only" gave up 5.5, good for 18th in the league. The Browns were tied with Arizona's great defense, only 0.1 worse than Carolina and better than Kansas City.
While the 5.5 yards per play isn't great, a team full of young defenders were able to play at a decent level.
Terrelle Pryor Looks Like a Receiver
Pryor only had 3 catches but had 68 yards with his long 44-yard reception. His body control and hands on that deep shot was a clear sign that he is ready to be a receiver full time. While not perfect, and with a limited route tree, Browns fans who were excited about Pryor last year will have that pay off this year.
At his size, with his long stride speed and his hands starting to be certain, Pryor can give the Browns a dynamic that they haven't had. He also helps allow Coleman to develop slowly especially when Josh Gordon returns.
For all of Griffin's abilities, hitting his tight end just didn't seem to be in his comfort zone. McCown, on the other hand, helped Barnidge breakout last season. Some of that was the limited receiving options around Barnidge last year but McCown's return could help the Browns use their talented tight end.
Whether this Browns organization believe in Barnidge's future with the team, McCown gives them a chance to analyze his play with a QB that uses him. If he produces, perhaps they keep him or at least he becomes a solid trade bait.
Either way, the return of the Barn Owl to prominence should be expected.
Young Defenders Getting Experience
A look at 1st and 2nd-year defenders' snap counts from Sunday:
Ibraheim Campbell - 77
Emmanuel Ogbah - 56
Carl Nassib - 54
Xavier Cooper - 47
Jamie Meder - 44
Joe Schobert - 29
Nate Orchard - 26
Danny Shelton - 42
Derrick Kindred - 23
Many believe that experience is the only way for players to develop. I agree for all positions except for the QB position. The Browns defense is getting a ton of experience at a young age which should help them develop for years to come.
Expectations are Lowered
Most Browns fans had low expectations going into the season but even those believed the Browns would show well against the Eagles. With the loss and Griffin's injury, all expectations are out of the window.which is actually a positive.
Now, a win would be seen as a great experience. Now, as it should be, the focus can be on the development of the players not the results on the scoreboard. Fans of the team have experienced the losses and are sick of it. At least this season the expectations are out the window quickly.
Even a win in Week 2, against division rival Baltimore Ravens, is unilkely to change that and for the better.
Isaiah Crowell Looks Good
Hue Jackson wants to be a power run team but many were unsure if the Browns had the kind of backs they would allow him to. While Isaiah Crowell had a rocky offseason, he showed signs of the ability to succeed in Hue's offense. On only 12 carries he put up 62 yards and a TD. He also had 2 receptions.
Crow might not keep the Browns from investing in a back next year but it looks like he will have a chance to prove his worth this season. Week 1 was a good start.
Hits on QB
Not for nothing, the Browns hit rookie Carson Wentz 8 times. For years, the Browns struggled to get any pressure on the QB. While they only got 2 sacks, Nassib and Christian Kirksey, the pressure can add up. The Browns were not able to take advantage of it but the hits are impressive. It is far more impressive when you realize that the Eagles have two very good tackles, Jason Peters and Lane Johnson.
It Is Only Week 1
While we expect a ton of losses this season, football is back and we have 15 more Browns games this season. All offseason we missed football that mattered and we have a chance to enjoy 15 more games from our team as well as all the great football all over the NFL. We also get to enjoy college football, and all the possible Browns draft picks. Time to enjoy football, no matter what the Browns record is.
What positives do you have out of Week 1?null