Browns

For Myles and Myles: Cleveland Browns Preseason Week 2 Winners and Losers

Hue Jackson had been asked about this season’s inevitable run of pregame protests in the National Football League, to which he said he had hoped his team would be able to band together, for a lack of a better term, keep the headlines related to what happens between the lines. Days later, roughly a dozen Browns players produced what was the largest protest to date, forming a prayer circle during the national anthem, led by linebacker Christian Kirksey, one which included several other members of the team standing near with their hand on the shoulder pads of those taking part. The team immediately released a statement, saying that while they feel it’s important for the team to collectively take part in the national anthem, they also respect the freedom of personal expression.

While the Cleveland Browns’ second preseason game would end in a 10-6 victory, their second win of the exhibition period, it will undoubtedly be what transpired in the two-plus minutes before the game that will drive discussion throughout the week. In what was the largest anthem protest to date, a group of players went to Jackson before the game to let him know what their plans were. As Kirksey would say following the game, “Being in the NFL on this big platform, we can be a voice for a lot of people. We wanted to make sure guys were collectively doing it for the right causes, making sure we were all on the same page, and doing it in a respectful manor.”

While many in the sports community have rallied around the Browns, supporting their display, there is also going to be the egg avatars and folks who think they’re publishing thinkpieces—while they’re anything but—on the other side of the coin.

We have no way of knowing where this all leads, but we can reasonably expect this to be far from over. Oh, they also played some football.

WINNER: DeShone Kizer

The kid is still a rookie. He made a horrible decision that won’t show up in the box score due to a defensive penalty, one that will undoubtedly get attention during Tuesday’s film session. But when you compare him to the rest of the men in that room, there is absolutely no way to not see DeShone Kizer as the most talented quarterback on the Cleveland Browns’ roster. Entering the game much sooner than many anticipated, Kizer was able to play against New York’s first-team defense, including players like Jason Pierre-Paul and Janoris Jenkins. He completed 8-of-13 passes for 74 yards, adding 35 yards and a touchdown on five runs, three of which were by design.

“Some days, you’re going to have the big numbers and the touchdown passes. Some games, you’re not,” said Hue Jackson following the game. “It is about playing efficient football, moving the team, and doing what is asked of the position based on what the defense is doing… I saw improvement in a lot of things.”

LOSER: Brock Osweiler

Two starts. Six possessions. 2.6 yards per play. One interception. Zero points.

WINNER: Hue Jackson

While more points would have been nice, it’s tough to argue with a game plan that provided the balance of 31 rushes and 29 pass attempts across a litany of players. The read options that were implemented worked beautifully, and while these sort of plays are often the result of quarterback execution, the complex nature of the pulling linemen and reads are a deviation from what most read-option plays have been in years past. This is on Hue.

POTENTIAL LOSER: Hue Jackson

Jackson stated he was going to make an “honest and forthright” decision on the starting quarterback on Wednesday of this week, using the information he’s obtained throughout the course of the preseason. On Wednesday, we will find out how full of shit that statement truly was. If we’re basing things on merit and putting the team in the best position to win football games, there is nothing—literally nothing—that will justify choosing Osweiler over Kizer. If you infer the rookie “isn’t ready” or some other subjective rhetoric, prepare for incredible amounts of backlash.

WINNER: Myles Garrett

Given how frequently he was in the backfield, his first sack was bound to happen. In just 15 snaps, Garrett racked up his first sack as a professional as well as another quarterback hit. In addition to looking solid against the run, he has now been credited with three quarterback pressures in just 23 snaps of the football. In the event you were still looking to answer whether or not the kid was the real deal, Myles Garrett is doing everything in his power to make you look foolish.

LOSERS: Anyone who was complaining about the hit on Odell Beckham Jr.

Listen: Odell Beckham Jr. is one of my favorite active football players. He’s appointment television for any NFL fan. It would have been devastating on a variety of levels had something happened to him when he was brought down by Briean Boddy-Calhoun. This all said: The hit was perfectly legal and is the result of the pendulum-swinging rule makers in the NFL. That it was preseason football should have no bearing on how players—especially young players looking to lock up roster spots—tackle. If you think the play was “dirty” or “uncalled for”, you’re effectively saying there shouldn’t be any form of football that doesn’t count toward records or playoff seeding. If you want to argue the benefits of preseason football, that’s fine. Just don’t use one play as your launching pad.

WINNER: Seth DeValve

Seth DeValve and his wife Erica were married a little over two months ago. Erica first noticed Seth in a class they took together at Princeton her Freshman year. Seth first noticed Erica in the congregation while he was leading worship at a local church across the street from campus. According to both individuals, they grew to become good friends through Princeton Faith & Action, the campus ministry. It was after one of PFA’s weekly meetings where Seth asked Erica out on their first date. Seth is white. Erica is black. And while the Browns tight end will go down as the “first white player” to take a knee during the national anthem, it’s what he said following the game that cements his winner status.

“I love this country, I love our national anthem,” said DeValve. “I’m very grateful for the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to protect this country. I want to honor them as much as I can. The United States is the greatest country in the world, and it is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody. I want to support my teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are things in the country that still need to change. I myself will be raising children who don’t look like me. I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now. I wanted to take that opportunity with my teammates to pray for our country and draw attention to the fact that we have a lot of work to do.”

LOSER: David Njoku

We’re going to give him some benefit of the doubt given Monday night was his maiden voyage in the world of NFL snaps, but when your rookie quarterback hits you square in the hands for what could be a drive-altering play, you have to haul it in.

WINNER: Corey Coleman

Whether it was needing full extension to haul in a sky-high pass from Brock Osweiler or hooking up with DeShone Kizer later in the game, Coleman looked like the receiver the Browns thought they were getting in the first round last spring. In 20 snaps of work, Coleman caught two balls for 29 yards, including a 20-yard gain on highly touted Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

LOSERS: Rod Johnson and Kevin Zeitler

Another preseason game, another influx of penalties from the offensive line. Johnson was thrust into starting duty after last week’s abomination in Cameron Erving was forced out with injury, but both he and otherwise solid lineman Kevin Zeitler made it tough for the Browns to get much of anything going in the first half of play. The Browns can ill-afford to have these kind of issues once the regular season starts regardless of who’s under center.

WINNER: Joe Schobert

Schobert took in a ton of snaps as the Browns’ middle linebacker in Gregg Williams’ 4-3 base, and looked really, really good. After Ray Horton tried to make him an EDGE last season, failing miserably during the process, Schobert’s speed—both laterally and downhill—was evident throughout the night. All in all, Schobert was credited with six tackles (five solo), one sack, one tackle for a loss, one QB hit and one pass defensed. Not a bad night.

WINNER: Matthew Dayes

You won’t find a bigger Matthew Dayes Stan than this guy. Dayes ran five times for 15 yards, adding 29 more yards off of five receptions. The juke he put on a Giants defender near the right sideline was nine kinds of nice.

LOSER: Duke Johnson Jr.

Love what he did when carrying the ball, but he’s going to get a quarterback killed if the shoddy blitz pick-up doesn’t get rectified in the next two weeks. This could be what moves him to the slot.

WINNER: Jabrill Peppers

Four tackles, three of which were solo, and a 31-yard punt return. I can’t wait for him to finally break one.

  • nj0

    I’ll admit it: I hate the read-option because I’m usually not sure who has the ball.

  • mgbode

    still waiting for a read-option to then do a cross field backward lateral to another player who can then throw the ball down field as the defense is caught w/ their pants around their ankles.

  • MartyDaVille

    I have no idea what an egg avatar is, but does it mean that all people who are offended by these protests are egg avatars?

  • nj0

    I didn’t get to watch. How did the rest of the d-line look? How about Orchard? Ogbah put on a pretty nice pass rush in that Garrett sack highlight. Not that I’m a depth chart aficionado, but it has to be a long time since we had any unit with so much top-to-bottom talent. Going to be interesting to see who ends up the odd man out.

  • Chris

    Kyle Shanahan… is that you?

  • Orchard was a late scratch. Desmond Bryant played much later into the game than I would’ve anticipated.

  • nj0

    The Egg People (or Eggites, to those of us in the know) are a silicon-based, spheroid race that evolved in Earth’s lithosphere 200-million-years ago and currently inhabit the outer core. Unlike the Illuminati, Reptilians, and Shadow People, the Eggites are mostly harmless, though they do enjoy sowing discontent in human society, usually by faxing offers for cruise ship packages to companies during business hours. That said, experts do worry about what might happen if the Eggites ever advance beyond 1980’s technology.

  • mgbode

    that was a forward pass to a player who was illegally not in the huddle. i loved the concept of that play though.

  • MartyDaVille

    Well actually I did try that, but since I don’t speak Twit, I had no idea what the explanation is.

    Since I don’t care for these protests, am I an egg avatar?

  • tigersbrowns2

    WINNERS : Schobert , Peppers , Kizer , S.Coleman , Kirksey , Dayes , McCourty & Gregg Williams

  • MartyDaVille

    Okay, no answer, so I’m going to assume that (1) I am an egg avatar and (2) that being an egg avatar not a good thing.

    So it’s not enough that we can disagree with people, we have to call them names too because . . . because . . . uh, why exactly do we have to call people names again?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4472fa48e4132d5ae0461d63592f934db10987e09cd462ff03e2a910cfb845b5.jpg

  • mgbode

    assuming Scott is in a meeting. simple explanation is that the “egg avatars” on twitter are from those who sign up quickly & anonymously just to post hateful or trolling messages. the egg is the auto-avatar (so they haven’t picked one of their own).

    I do agree that there are reasonable thoughts that can be had on the other side of this debate but those do not tend to be the loudest & most prevalent ones as things are happening.

  • MartyDaVille

    Thanks for the explanation, mg.

    Can someone who is in favor of these protests be an egg avatar too? Or are egg avatars only those who don’t like them?

  • nj0

    Sorry, I thought you were making a joke I didn’t understand.

    To add to what Mr. Bode said, since the election there has been a lot of talk about bot-armies on Twitter and other social media websites. Those make use of a multitude of dummy egg accounts to make it seem like a whole lot of people feel one way when in reality it’s just one dude who knows some programming.

  • nj0

    Yes, they could. Fair or not, I think egg avatars have become associated with conservative political opinions, partly because the internet skews young and liberal, but also because of some high profile exposure of conservative groups who have made wide use of egg avatars in an effort to influence public opinion. But yeah, an egg can believe whatever it wants. It’s just that if you frequent Twitter, you’ll notice that most eggs are trolls from one side or the other.

  • Pat Leonard

    Garrett and Schobert were big winners. Those guys were everywhere.

    Kizer was a winner by default given how poorly Osweiler and Kessler played. When I watch those two guys, I have no confidence that the offense is going to be able to move the ball. I don’t feel that way when I watch the offense under Kizer. A holding penalty with Osweiler or Kessler spells doom for the drive. A holding penalty with Kizer feels more like a setback.

    Tank Carder obviously a loser. Didn’t play well when he was in the game and then got injured, losing his chance to battle Schobert for the base package job.

    Randall Telfer is a winner. Caught the pass he was supposed to catch and gave the Browns solid blocking. A trustworthy cog in the machine, if nothing else.

    I’m going to call Emmanuel Ogbah a loser. This is now two preseason games where he hasn’t shown much. He needs to step it up in the third game.

  • Did you sign up for a Twitter account for the sole reason of spewing a hot take into the ether about a topic that you are really, really mad about for some reason? If not, then no, you are not an egg avatar.

    I don’t really understand why you’re so defensive about this. We have a culture of good debate here at WFNY. To my knowledge neither Scott nor anyone else at WFNY has said a disparaging word about the people who post here, especially the regulars.

    If Scott wanted to destroy anyone and everyone who has a problem with the protests, I believe he would have said so. I don’t want to fully speak for Scott on this, but I just don’t really see the need to get fired up about him taking on the implication of egg avatars when clearly you are not the type of person he was going after.

  • MartyDaVille

    Thanks, nj0. I appreciate the education.

  • whosevelt

    No one is talking about this option but if I were Hue I’d consider Kessler. He played okay last year for Hue so he is not unknown. Osweiler has shown nothing to take the job away, and the consensus is that Kizer is not ready. Wasn’t Kessler the presumptive starter at the beginning of camp? Then it stands to reason that if Oswelier hasn’t taken the job and Kizer is redshirting, he’s the last man standing.

  • RGB

    LOSER: Joe Haden. Buddy, pal, I know it’s preseason, but c’mon.
    LOSER: David Njoku. Yeah, he he runs like a gazelle. But, he blocks like St. Clair, and catches like Mayle.
    LOSERish: Rod Johnson. He never stood a chance against the Giants DL.
    WINNER: Joe Schobert. Everybody knew he was playing out of position last year. Why Carder started in front of him last night is inexcusable. Don’t make that mistake again Mr. Williams.
    WINNER: Deshone Kizer. You’re going to start.
    LOSER: Deshone Kizer. Your first start is going to be against the yinzers.
    LOSER. I’d say the WR corps, but do we even have one?

  • Thank you, Rock.

  • MartyDaVille

    Thank you, Andrew.

    I’m not fired up or angry at all, but I did perceive a gratuitous little drive-by shot taken at people who don’t care for the protests, such as “folks who think they’re publishing thinkpieces—while they’re anything but—on the other side of the coin.” And I just thought the other side of the coin shouldn’t let that go unanswered. (BTW, do people who support these protests also write thinkpieces that really aren’t?)

    I just want to emphasize that people who don’t care for these protests aren’t bad people and that there really is no point in insulting them, especially here.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f79868816d3821eb348fe69e99275dd9149a419fb12606177e0d521b3a5cf24c.jpg

  • Harv

    I loved the concept that Shanahan had to whisper “go NOW!” three times to Johnny, who was facing him and just 3 feet away.

    Dazed Johnny momentarily mistook Kyle for his babe de jour, is my theory.

  • Like all things in life….some are, some aren’t. People calling those who knelt “c*cks*ckers” on our FB page and demanding they be cut immediately, well, it’s hard to have patience for that perspective. I’ve listened to and read plenty of well thought out and reasonable pieces laying out reasons why people are upset with the protests. And I get that. I respect that opinion. I just don’t really agree with it. And that’s fine. That’s what America is all about, disagreeing and being ok with that. But when people rush to just yell out insults at people just for standing up for something they believe in, they lose the benefit of the doubt from me. Which is why I value our comments section so much. We’ve proven time and time again that reasonable disagreement can still be achieved.

  • I’m the biggest Joe Haden apologist in the world, but even I’m running out of apologies. Oof.

  • Pat Leonard

    I really want him to return to form if for no other reason than his jersey is the only Browns jersey I own. Looks like that thing is going to be retired sooner than expected.

  • Pat Leonard

    What would that say to the team though? Kizer is clearly outplaying both Osweiler and Kessler in these preseason games, and it seems like the sideline is always rooting for him when he’s in the game. Rewarding Kessler or Osweiler with the starting job could potentially cause some unnecessary discord in the locker room.

  • I have a Haden jersey as well. He’s one of my favorite Cleveland athletes ever. He’s everything I want a Cleveland athlete to be. But I’m worried. Real worried.

  • Harv

    Winner: Passionate defense. Almost everyone’s playing like they believe playing time will be awarded strictly via meritocracy. If the squad was deeper I’d say: look out Ogbah, Desmond Bryant and Haden. The one on one tackling looks better than any time since Mangini brought in his oldsters.

    Loser: flat-lined offensive skill position players (other than Dayes). I’m talking effort, not paucity of talent. I don’t give Coleman kudos for turning around and catching a 20 yard pass; he hasn’t once looked close to running after the catch like the TD maker he was acclaimed to be. Nor has he fought for a ball. Britt is giving the kind of post-contract Dwayne Bowe-like effort that’s going to get these bad QBs killed. Njoku looks like he needs another year in college. I know, it’s preseason. But no one here has earned the right not to fight for a position.

  • Loser: The fans that want the Browns to draft Sam Darnold.At this rate, you guys can forget about him becoming part of the Browns resurgence plan of awesomeness, Super Bowl rings, and Scooby Snacks.

  • crobarred

    Preseason winners and losers! Man I missed football.

    Winner Dayes- I hope he makes this team. I liked how he played when given opportunities.

    Winner 1st round draft picks not named Njoku. Garrett and Peppers are giving me reasons to watch Browns football again.

    Loser Osweiler. How can a guy 6′ 7″ get passes batted down?

    Loser Injuries to O-Line. When Can Erving is a possible starter week 1, you have problems.

  • RGB

    One more I forgot…
    WINNER: Chris Tabor. Peppers is going to keep the teflon goldfish on the payroll.

  • crobarred

    Teflon goldfish got the +1…well done.

  • paulbip

    Why isn’t the National Anthem played for golf and bowling? What about tennis?

  • JM85

    Are people really that upset about the kneeling? Good grief.

  • scripty

    Tank Carder tore his ACL

  • Skulb

    It’s FDR’s fault. This is customary in the NFL because he insisted on displays of mass patriotism at all large public events during WWII, as a unifying thing. And golf and bowling aren’t large public events. Personally I think the NFL has gone from this rather understandable, if condescending, approach to it into the obnoxious. If an alien watched an NFL game he would probably not immediately be able to tell it apart from a North Korean military parade. At least leave the fighter planes out of it.
    But what do I know? People seem to like it for some reason.

  • Skulb

    Media hype. None of us would even know if it wasn’t for the over-reporting in the media. They could be jumping along the sideline on pogo sticks. It’s not as if anyone is standing at home, right? Scratching ourselves, getting a beer before the game starts and yelling at the dog during the anthem, yet the players have to stand at attention.

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