Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On The Mark, 8.19.14: Browns React

No Separation: Manziel and Hoyer struggle during 24-23 loss to the Redskins

Hello, and welcome to the first “On The Mark” report! I will be bringing it with Ohio State and Browns football reports for Triple Threat Podcast all season long!

The Browns second preseason game, frustrating from start to finish, ends with a 24-23 loss to the Washington Redskins in front of a Monday Night Football National TV audience on ESPN. The Browns had a chance to win it in the end with a great Hail Mary pass by Connor Shaw, caught for a touchdown by Emmanuel Ogbuehi after a Willie Snead tip. However, the 2 point conversion was no good, giving the Redskins the win.

At the start of the game, you might as well of called it the “Flag Bowl”, because it seemed that every play had a flag for defensive holding, especially against a very thin Browns secondary. Between the Browns and Redskins, there were 21 penalties called in last night’s game.

The good news for the Browns was the play of the starting defensive front, who at one point stopped the Redskins after an impressive drive with 4 goal line stands. The bad news, however, was the poor play of the offense. Both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel’s first series were 3 and outs. Both QB’s suffered from poor passing and poor catch attempts by their wide receivers

Robert Griffin III had a decent night in Jay Gruden’s new offense, going 6/9 for 112 yards and 1 INT. He did take some hard hits from the Browns defense and got up limping after one big hit but appeared no worse for the wear. Kirk Cousins was impressive in his stint, coming in during the the second quarter and leading the Redskins to a touchdown on the last series of the first half, with Evan Royster rushing in for the score. He would finish 12/21 with a touchdown and an interception.

Later on, in the fourth quarter, Johnny Manziel led an impressive drive (albeit against the Redskins third string defense) ending in a Dion Lewis touchdown, the first of the preseason for the Browns. It also showcased Johnny’s middle finger towards the Redskins bench, which should give him some more “positive” national attention and a talking to by his coaches.

As the game started, It looked as if, with the way head coach Mike Pettine had set up reps for Hoyer and Manziel, neither they nor their offensive teammates could get in to any type of rhythm. Hoyer had a good pass to Jordan Cameron that was dropped in his first series.

Manziel also had passes being dropped, twice by Josh Gordon. It was a bad night all around for the first team offense, who also gave up 2 sacks (one with Hoyer, one with Manziel at QB).

In my opinion, it has to be very worrisome to the Browns organization that neither Hoyer nor Manziel separated themselves and have both looked average at best when given opportunities. That said, it might be wise for Pettine to not name the starter tomorrow, instead giving the start on Saturday to Johnny Manziel before making the final decision on which quarterback starts during the season.

Pettine may still make his decision tomorrow but after seeing what both of his quarterbacks did tonight, there is no clear winner of who will start against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 7.

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