Brian Hoyer and Browns starters restore a bit of order against Bears backups

The Browns started against the Bears’ second string and tried to gain some chemistry and confidence out of a largely dismal pre-season. The way the Browns defense began, it wasn’t looking great. The Browns defense gave up yards and a third down conversion to David Fales. Not Jay Cutler. Not Jimmy Claussen. After seven plays, 59 yards and some embarrassing play by Leon McFadden, the Browns only yielded a field goal.

When the Browns’ offense finally got the ball on their own 15, they looked to get some semblance of an offense going. In the opening drive, they were able to get it done. Yes, it seemed desperate as they were forced to go for it on fourth down in the red zone against the Bears backups, but no matter! Yes, Brian Hoyer still air-mailed an awkward looking pass that should have been a touchdown to Jordan Cameron. Yes, John Greco whiffed on a defender that almost submarined a running play for a three yard loss. In the end, all that matters is the Browns drove 85 yards over 13 plays and more than six minutes. It culminated with an easy Ben Tate touchdown run and some decent looking receptions from Hoyer to Taylor Gabriel, Jordan Cameron, Andrew Hawkins and Travis Benjamin.

Hallelujah! I’m not really celebrating of course. It’s more of a relief. Imagine if the Browns had somehow not been able to do something against the Bears second team defense? I didn’t want to live in that world. Thankfully, I don’t have to.

The Browns played a bit more first string defense, forced a 52-yard field goal miss and Johnny Manziel entered the game. We’ll have more on the rest of this game, but we wanted to cover the starters’ night and it’s now over with a less than a minute to go in the first quarter. The Browns starters lead the Bears backups 7-3.

  • Robert Gehling

    McFadden was a bright spot 2 games ago….say it isn’t so. I didn’t even watch.

  • Tron

    Crowell looked beast mode

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    He didn’t look good at all and against back-ups too.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Our starters are better then their back-ups, our depth is better then their depth the problem is the Browns starters haven’t been able to do it against opponent starters.

  • saggy

    that’s why they always seem to finish strong. When other teams are decimated by injury or just forced to play a deeper lineup, the Browns turn it on.

    Obviously, this isn’t true, but it sure feels like it.

  • offense is looking more crisp which was the hallmark of hoyer’s two games last year. either zac jackson or lane adkins reported (or reported a player saying.. i really cant remember) that this week’s practices have been the best of the summer. it looked it regardless of second string defense.

    much more worried about justin gilbert than leon mcfadden… he aint ready. and i hope aaron berry is just auditioning for a roster slot and not an actual potential starter.

    increasingly dubious about manziel. yah sure he gets a long looksee as a first rounder, but derek carr is starting and looking good for the raiders. jimmy garoppolo has ryan mallett on the trading block. manziel has not looked close to an nfl qb unless you think nfl qbs have long careers running spreads and roll-outs. wouldve been interesting if the saints hadnt jumped up for brandin cooks. instead it looks like the predictable result of a first rd pick driven by an imbecile qb coach and a very rich guy not accustomed to being contradicted.

  • Sam Gold

    Pettine achieved what he wanted out of a fourth preseason game prior to heading over to Shattsburgh.

    Find the clamoring for JFF’s spark amusing as all those clamoring ignore the horrid execution of fundamental QB play along the way.

    Manziel looks like he's throwing a wicker basket filled with peaches on those deep strikes. #Browns— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) August 29, 2014

  • Tron

    Yea that’s a cute tweet by Marc Sessler but I disagree. If I wanted an immobile QB with a cannon for an arm that looks good in the preseason I’d try to bring back Brandon Weeden.

    I was actually encouraged by what I saw in Manziel. His arm is strong and he showed accuracy. Yes he was also inaccurate (Charles Johnson) but he has plenty of time to improve.

    He’s a playmaker with unbelievable instincts which is why his potential is so high. He’s a smart kid, he’ll learn.

    Biggest concern I saw was ball security. But I was impressed with his athleticism and toughness. He looks fearless.

  • Sam Gold

    I’m anxious for the potential future he brings as well. My comment was directed more towards those who think the player he is today is the player who gives us the best chance to win today. I am not one of those fans.

  • I mentioned this last night on Twitter: the Bears second team defense isn’t much worse than their first team defense, if I’m not mistaken.

  • cmm13

    I disagree on the “instincts” take on Manziel.

    His instincts have always been to look for the homerun ball ignoring what the defense gives him and if the homerun ball isn’t there it’s fake/deke/run until he can create.

    Those may have worked in 80-100% of the time in NCAA; but we are already seeing it works 30-40% in the NFL against 2nd and 3rd string defenses.

    I don’t know the future, but my two points remain;

    1. His athleticism and toughness only flashes (thus far) against a 2nd or 3rd team defense. Washington’s first team defense didn’t let him around and edge or up the middle.

    2. The hype machine that perpetuated this thought that Manziel was anything other than a project has been proven wrong.

  • Already?

  • I’d have to look again, but it seems to me that Manziel’s worst throws were from the pocket. Scary.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Predicted by many.

  • cmm13

    and with time.


  • Sam Gold

    Based on the Hoyer-Manziel fan dichotomy, half the audience will support this position as an irreducible, self-evident primary while the other half will verbally fight you to the death for your heresy.

  • Tron

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with drafting a project QB at 22 overall. I also don’t think anybody expects or expected him to come in and succeed automatically with his brand of backyard football.

    He needs to adjust to the NFL just like every QB ever (even Andrew Luck). And that takes time. I remember when Drew Brees was a bust.

    You draft a guy like Johnny Manziel because he has a strong arm, is mobile and has accuracy. But most importantly because of the intangibles: pocket presence, competitiveness, creativity, and leadership. Like him or not his teammates have always loved him and will rally around him.

    These are things that are hard to gauge or to predict as to translating into NFL success but I’m glad the Browns took the chance.

    More than anything else the Browns need an identity. Which is exactly what Johnny offers.