Something special about the feel before the first game of the season in the NFL as with all sports. It’s the feeling that for an instant everyone is tied for 1st place. It also includes for NFL fans that feeling of the first tailgate. The first cookout with friends and family to cheer on your team. It’s something that you can only get with the first game of the year. Talking about the off-season free agent additions and the guys that have been added through the draft. For Cleveland Brown fans this years has a special feel to it. I’m not saying they will go to the playoffs. I’m not saying they will be a 500 team this year. Honestly, I feel a six win season would be a huge step. However, I believe it will be a five win myself.
So what did we learn from today’s game? Well first and foremost if you didn’t catch the information yet the Eagles beat the Browns 17 to 16 on the final drive of the game. The Browns started three rookies, but lets be honest, this team has a ton of rookie and 2nd year players. Yes, the Browns have rebuilt. Again! This time it feels a bit different.
Lets focus on the upsides … DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE! These young guns had 4 INTs and 2 Forced Fumbles. Joe Haden looked like a top 3 CB. Ward looked like he is finally ready to step up, and take the league by storm. This entire team really was on lock down for the majority of the game. If the Browns get the offense going so they can get a breather on the sideline this team could be dangerous. Dick Jauron has done a great job getting this Defense how he wants it and I believe all they can do is keep getting better.
Next, Special Teams looked great. Josh Cribbs really was taken out of the WR slot and now can focus on the best part of his game. The return team looks great, and will certainly bring some back all the way before the end of this season.
Finally, the dim side of this game was focused around the offense. Brandon Weeden, yes a rookie QB, threw 4 INTs and didn’t break 150yrds. Boooooooooooos rained down inside of Cleveland Brown stadium while announcers started to talk about the possibility of Colt McCoy returning to action. Kudos to the head coach for sticking with his guy. However, Weeden must show improvement if he hopes to remain as the starter. The bright side to Weeden’s play is that even with such a poor showing the Browns were still in it till the end.
An upside was that the fans and NFL in general got to see the beast running back Trent Richardson make his NFL regular season debut. He did not disappoint. Perhaps the key moment during the game for Richardson happened on a hand off where Richardson blew up a defensive player so hard the players was driven back as his helmet flew off of his head. This one moment showed the power and violence that Richardson runs with. It is a sight that Browns Fans have not seen in years, and is a very welcome sight.
Overall the game was good and the team kept it close. No, they are not a playoff team this year. However, someone needs to put the AFC North on notice. No automatic gimmes this year. This is a team that may just be missing one piece to be a true every Sunday contender. Unfortunately, they may not find that missing piece this year.