Thoughts from the Browns’ 24-14 preseason loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night:
Things I liked:
Phil Taylor: The first-round pick from Baylor from looked the player we heard about on draft day, when the Browns’ free-fall through the first round ended at No. 21. Until Thursday, I feared that Taylor would merely be a two-down lineman. That was before he sacked Michael Vick and forced a fumble that was recovered by Jayme Mitchell at the Eagles 18. Taylor was virtually unblockable in the first half and Vick gave him a high-five as the two teams left the field at intermission. (Vick’s stock went up with me with that move.)
Brian Robiskie: Signs of life from the three-year veteran, whom some feared might not survive the final cut. While his offensive pass interference call against cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha nullified Robiskie’s 43-yard catch, the flag was questionable. I also can’t remember Robiskie showing such aggressiveness. Former Browns receiver Kevin Johnson got away with that push-off move for years.
Mike Adams: I’m not crazy about the state of the Browns’ secondary, especially since Usama Young’s injury bug seems to have followed him from New Orleans. But Adams is still the Browns’ MVP – most versatile player. Too bad his interception was wiped out by a roughing the passer penalty on linebacker D’Qwell Jackson.
Ahtyba Rubin: My favorite play of the game was Vick’s 9-yard TD run because of the speed (not sure that is the right word) 330-pound defensive tackle Rubin showed in dogged pursuit.
Colt McCoy: Don’t think McCoy was as bad as his numbers indicated. His preseason QB rating is still 101.7 and he’s completing 60.9 percent with four touchdowns and one interception. As the Browns’ TV broadcast team aptly pointed out, the Eagles were virtually facing their own offense since coach Pat Shurmur spent so many years in Philadelphia.
Things I didn’t like
Titus Brown’s injury: The Browns are already weak and banged-up at linebacker and Brown reportedly left the stadium on crutches with an ankle injury. He stands third on the preseason tackle list with 10, behind safety Ray Ventrone (12) and Jackson (11).
Three turnovers and seven penalties: Don’t think those will go over too well with coach Pat Shurmur, especially the way the Browns let the questionable calls against Jackson and Robiskie disrupt their first-half rhythm.
Lack of a running game: The Browns have 362 yards on 74 plays (4.9) average, but that dips to 3.8 if you take away Armond Smith’s 81-yard run. Sure it’s preseason and the Browns have been missing LG Eric Steinbach and Peyton Hillis may not be going gangbusters yet (8 carries, 34 yards, 1 TD). But perhaps it’s a good thing the Browns will pass to move the ball in the West Coast offense.
Casey Matthews wearing green and white: It still pains me that the Browns let another linebacker son of Clay Matthews get away. Maybe they’ll get it right with one of Clay’s grandchildren.
Promising Buckeyes in Philly: The Eagles have two ex-Buckeyes the Browns could have had for a song – linebacker Brian Rolle (a sixth-round pick in 2011) and starting free safety Kurt Coleman (a seventh-rounder in 2010).