After watching the Browns-Packers game tape endlessly, a number of questions and thoughts popped into my mind. Why were some of the players unable to match their success in practice? Why was the starting offensive unit so successful?
- LT Joe Thomas, LG Eric Steinbach and C Alex Mack played well in the pre-season opener. Without question, the strength of the Browns offensive line sits with these three players. In the face of numerous blitz packages, this group played nearly mistake-free football.
- Overall, rookie Shawn Lauvao has practiced well in training camp. Although he had good moments against the Packers, at others, he was beaten off the spot and gave away position and leverage. Training camp and pre-season games ready players for prime-time, and for a rookie such as Lauvao, the learning process continues.
- RT John St. Clair has had his fair share of issues since arriving a year ago. In camp this year, St. Clair has had moments when he was dominating, and others when he was slow and beaten. Against the Packers, outside of one terrible missed assignment, St. Clair played reasonably well. With RT Tony Pashos out due to a shoulder issue and RG/RT Floyd Womack not playing, St. Clair needs to perform well. The veteran needs to perform better to potentially retain a role with the club as well as to provide stability in what could be the strength of the team -- the offensive line.
- QB Jake Delhomme played very, very well. While his passing yards don't jump out in the post-game statistics, it was the management and veteran experience he provides that glowed during his first-quarter drive. A season ago, the QBs on this roster would not have made the reads on Green Bay blitzes, nor would they have been able to make a couple of quick progressive reads to gain substantial yardage.
- TE Evan Moore is a legitimate pass catching TE in this league. Moore's speed and quickness create match-up problems for the defense, and he is basically a raw but rapidly developing talent.
- SS Abe Elam must elevate his game if the defensive backfield of the Browns is to display dramatic improvement in 2010. With rookie S T.J. Ward likely to line up next to Elam in center field of this Browns defense, Elam cannot afford to be a step late in coverage, as has been the unfortunate norm.
- ILB Eric Barton may be getting his football legs back after missing considerable time a season ago due to a neck injury, but the clock may ticking down to his grand finale. Despite being in excellent physical condition, Barton does not appear to have that ‘pop' you like to see from an ILB. With D'Qwell Jackson being out with a pec injury, Barton has gained starter reps alongside Chris Gocong. If Barton falters, either Scott Fujita or David Bowens could see time inside.
- ILB Chris Gocong has done surprisingly well in moving inside this off-season. An OLB during his time in Philadelphia, Gocong has quickly absorbed the Browns defense and is bringing a physical and selfless presence on the practice field.
- OLB Scott Fujita has proven he can effectively play inside, and in what caught most by surprise, he has landed outside with the Browns. A weakness in the Browns defense was the outside linebacker play in pass coverage and, at times, in run support. The Browns are a team which has pass rushing talent from the OLB spots, but the overall game of those at the position are in question. This is why Fujita, one of the most intelligent players you will find, has landed in the role.