When all was said and done, the Browns did what they had to do and a little bit more. It’s like every new Weezer album that comes out. It’s neither good or bad, and it doesn’t break any ground, but it sounds like Weezer. The Browns won’t put this on their highlight reel for this season, but it looked like professional football and they won. Having said that, you know Odell Beckham Jr. will watch a YouTube clip with bad hip hop over it because he had two pretty nice highlights with a one-handed catch and an 89-yard sprint to glory. As an overall game, it’s not one for the season highlights, but I’m optimistic that the Browns got a free regular season pre-season game.
The Jets never had a chance in this game because of the quarterback situation. Myles Garrett went unblocked a couple of times, which just goes to show how ill-prepared the Jets were with their second and third-string quarterbacks. This isn’t a criticism either. It’s not possible. Even with all the cards stacked against the Jets, they impressed me with their tenacity on defense. Le’Veon Bell impressed with his skills even if he had no chance to make enough of an impact to put the Jets over the top.
Here are the rest of my observations:
Baker Mayfield hasn’t gotten it going yet this year. I’m not worried about him, and I’m happy he got the challenge of a Gregg Williams defense that was well-informed to try and stop him. Say what you want about Gregggg, but he knows Baker Mayfield as well as any defensive coordinator in the NFL. It wasn’t shocking to me that he was able to scheme a couple of things to confuse him in the beginning.
Beyond the weird looks, Baker isn’t in rhythm yet and it’s showing with his accuracy. When he burst onto the scene last year against the Jets, his deadly accurate throws were what impressed me the most. He was being compared to Tyrod Taylor at the time, but he was impressive in his own right. I don’t believe Baker’s lost anything, but he’s not at that level right now at this point of the season. It could be timing. It could be rust. I expect Baker to get back to his accurate ways.
Myles Garrett is a bad man, but I don’t want the league to think of him as a bad person. I know this will come off as soft to “football guy,” but Garrett better be careful as he racks up personal fouls. Some of them are ticky-tack, but if he continues to compile penalty yardage and injure quarterbacks, in 2019 it will earn him a bad reputation. That reputation will earn him even more penalties as referees come into games wary of him and refusing to give him the benefit of the doubt. As a pass-rusher in 2019, you need the benefit of the doubt when you’re tackling the most protected position in professional sports history.
I saw some criticism for Freddie Kitchens based on his play-calling and decision-making on Monday Night. I don’t believe any coach is beyond criticism, but I mostly think he was fine. I probably would have played more conservatively in the fourth quarter just wearing out the clock. After that, it’s so hard to judge play-calls, because we don’t know exactly how things were supposed to be executed or if Baker missed reads and audibles that could or should have been made. We have a habit of trying to find patient zero for issues in sports, but it’s not that simple. There’s a chemistry between the QB, his coach, the line, and the various weapons at skill positions. Each game is a data point, but we’re just two games in, so I’ll withhold ultimate judgment for now.
I almost don’t want to acknowledge it, so I won’t. Let’s just say I don’t have to talk about the most special of teams that play in a game of football. I like that. Winky face. MOVING ALONG.
The Browns’ defense beyond Myles Garrett played really well. The degree of difficulty is what it was due to the injury situation with the Jets, but they did what they had to do. The alternative is that they could have taken their foot off the gas and given up some meaningless touchdowns that would have cast doubt on the overall unit. Giving up three points and none in the second half is awesome.
Lastly, I loved the way the Browns scored at the end of the first half. That’s the sign of a real live professional football team. It was professional, and our team did it! They didn’t try to overdo it and get more than what they were given. They made one really big play to put them in position with the long pass to Landry in traffic. They executed the spike to stop the clock with plenty of time. And then something happened that I’m still not willing to acknowledge, but let’s just say it was a good way to end the half.
All in all, you can’t get too high from this win, and it was a gift to be able to have this veritable practice game count in the regular-season standings. But the Browns could have fumbled and faltered, and they didn’t. They didn’t set the world on fire either, but that’s o.k.
It was a perfect way to warm up for a short-week affair with the Rams…
Talk to you next week!