Preseason Game Review: Packers 27, Browns 20

Fan commentator Joe Brownlee takes a look at Monday night's Browns - Packers game. Joe looks at each position and offers his thoughts.

Good day, Browns Fans!

This game was a mixed bag. The Browns did a lot of good things in this loss, but the injuries and mistakes left me feeling uneasy. Luckily, it appears the injuries are minor across the board, and frankly, some of the folks who made the mistakes are no longer on the team.

Since this game was on national TV, I'm going to go light on facts and go more with opinion, position by position. Much like the team, I'm on a short deadline here, so these are "live" impressions. I have not had time to analyze the tape as yet.

Quarterbacks

Tim Couch has had his critics. I have not been one of them for the most part until late last season. Couch's last appearance in Lambeau was one in which he had a terrible game. Many have talked about his trying to take the whole weight of the game on himself and so forth. I was beginning to lose faith in Couch, at least having some serious misgivings about him as late as the Buffalo scrimmage. This preseason, we have seen Couch perform at his highest levels to date because of three things:

  • Better supporting cast. Improvement around Couch has really helped him.
  • Better pass protection. Couch certainly had plenty of time to throw in this game.
  • His study. I think the film study in the offseason has helped quite a bit.

If Couch continues to throw accurately, intelligently, and for a high completion percentage, the chains will continue to move. Note how the offense was able to overcome holding penalties that would have killed drives in the past. We have also seen long, sustained drives this preseason. The TD drive Couch led ate 7:30 off the clock.

Holcomb was solid. He was no Tim Couch, but he made some nice plays. He seemed to have "happy feet" in this one, something he has not shown up to now. Then again, this is the Packers, not the Lions or Vikings. Josh Booty still throws a nice looking pass, but he is inexperienced and needs to work on his decision making about when to throw. His interception was a play where he did not step into the throw, and that might have made the difference between an interception and perhaps squeezing a completion. It would be better not to throw that one at all.

Running Backs

William Green looked a step faster this week. He was finding holes. He ran hard. He, too, needs to work on his decision making process. Too much thinking. When he gets the gut feel, look out. Another great outing for Jamel White. In particular, I liked both of these guys on the screen pass, something the Browns need to add and are clearly working on this preseason. They had a lot of success with it.

James Jackson was better than early this summer, but he still struggled some. It was hard to miss that he just does not change direction well, and he doesn't always pick the right hole, something he had problems with last year, too. Autry Denson had his weakest game to date, though it did not seem that he had much room to run. Still, that is not to say that Denson had a bad game, because I think he was fine.

I saw some decent blocks out of the new fullbacks, but I'm still not convinced regarding either of them.

Wide Receivers

KJ was quiet, but once again, Quincy Morgan had a very good game. If he plays at this level during the season, it will open up a lot of things for KJ and the Browns. What a great TD catch! Andre Davis took quite a shot on that third down throw, but held on. How about Northcutt hauling in a 45-yard pass with a defender all over him? I could hardly believe it! King, Dawson, and Frisman Jackson all had catches, but I don't think anyone really distinguished themselves here. This battle will likely come down to Friday's game.

Tight Ends

Nobody got in the passing game much. Campbell was open for a TD, but was overthrown. Blocking-wise, I have to admit, not a lot caught my eye. However, with the pass protection good and some good holes opened, you have to at least say these guys weren't a huge liability.

Offensive Line

Just some observations here. Tre Johnson makes a huge difference. The Browns opened big holes at times, and the pass protection was good. I also thought Stokes had a good game. When Tucker left and was replaced with Chanoine, immediately the QB was on the run. The drop off there was quite noticeable and immediate. I'd have liked to see Gonzalez first. Too many holding calls, though one was called when a defender was about to nail Couch, so that was a "good" holding call.

Again without going to tape, I don't have tons of comments on the backups, but the Browns used Konrad Dean in place of Qasim Mitchell and I thought he did OK. I'm really starting to like Melvin Fowler.

Defensive Line

The line played with more urgency than last week. Though he didn't make lots of big plays, I noticed Courtney Brown was causing his lineman fits. Gerard Warren was getting an excellent push up the field. Some nice plays on the run, too, in very limited duty.

Interesting that the #2 defensive line ended up in the game against Favre and did pretty well. Before he left the game with an injury, I really thought Felipe Claybrooks played hard. I don't know if it will be enough to crack the roster, though. I noticed Arnold Miller was running with the third team, so it doesn't look too good for him. Alvin McKinley has been no slouch, and it would appear that his play was enough to make the Browns give up on Marcus Spriggs. The backups gave up too many yards, though.

Linebackers


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