We talked to each of the three coordinators on Tuesday to get their big-picture thoughts on what they saw in Saturday's 17-0 preseason victory over Cleveland.
Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin
Overall: I was pleased. As a I said to Coach McCarthy, I thought we started fast. We had two touchdown drives on our first two possessions. That's an area we did not do well in a year ago. That was a plus. Overall, we controlled the line of scrimmage for the most part and therefore the tempo of the football game. That was a positive. I thought our guys played with some attitude a little bit. That was a plus. Those were all good things. We had far too many penalties, far too many missed assignments and we turned the ball over twice. There's a lot of good things but there's a lot of things that weren't very good.
On the mistakes: As I said to our players the other night, our discipline as a unit is not where it needs to be. The guys played hard, there was some good effort, chemistry was good, we thought the leadership was good. But we had seven offensive penalties and a bunch of (missed assignments). That's not a recipe for success in the regular season. We've got to get the discipline. We've got to clean that up.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers
Overall: We ran a lot of our base concepts. Really kind of wanted to get some of those that we're going to have in most of the time on tape so we could evaluate them. I thought the guys responded well for the first outing. We did not have a lot to go on in terms of what we might see out of the Browns; I'm sure like they didn't have a lot to go on on what they'd see out of us.
The things that I liked about the game is, No. 1, we gave up the long reverse early in the game but other than that they had 14 runs for 30 yards. So, that's where everything starts is being able to stop the run. We've got to do a good job there, and if you do that, then hopefully the next phase is being able to disrupt the rhythm of the quarterback. They converted their first two third downs, but from that point on, they converted one more the rest of the game. The guys responded well, especially down in the red area and in adversity situations. We had the third-and-2 that we got stopped down there in the first drive. Then, they take the ball over on the 45, the 50 and our 39, and we got three interceptions in those situations. I thought we made plays at some critical times in the game. We got a chance to look at all of our players — all of our guys played. I think you obviously have a better feel of watching guys compete in a game, kind of where they are.
Special-teams coordinator Shawn Slocum
Overall: I saw, No. 1, a competitive spirit. I liked our play speed. From a technical aspect, we've got some things to clean up. We only got one kickoff return. That didn't go as well as I would have liked. We made some adjustments based on that one play and continue to move forward. With the rule change (banning wedges), I think you're going to see a different game in terms of the kickoff coverage-kickoff return. With the wedge, you had big guys, so you had to have a couple big guys on the kickoff team. With that going away, it's going to lean more toward the more athletic guy covering kickoffs. That's going to be an evolution as we move through the preseason.
On the kickoff coverage against Joshua Cribbs, who averaged 25.2 yards per return with one touchdown last season: Cleveland's been excellent in their kickoff returns. Our first kickoff coverage (an 18-yard return), that's the way it's supposed to look. We had a number of hats on the ball. I was pleased with that. I thought Mason kicked the ball deep and high, and that gives the guys a chance to get down the field.
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