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Browns preseason TIVO-blog (first half)

August 11, 2014 - Zach Baker
So, the preseason has arrived, as the Browns play at the Lions. I had the game on at work, but was unable to gain a real sense of what they did well, if anything.

So, thanks, to the magic of DVR, I'm re-watching the game.

Lions receive the kick, and we're reminded that, yes, we're watching the Browns, as Lions returner Jeremy Ross returns the ball to midfield. Hey, here's a way to lose games: Hidden yards. Not a good sign.

- Matthew Stafford is in, but it's the running game that gives the Browns problems. Joique Bell carries the ball for a 12-yard run, giving me flashbacks to when Bell was running through Tiffin University's defense at Hillsdale. On a third and eight from the 20, the Browns blitz from the right side and force an overthrow by Stafford. Nate Freese, a rookie from Boston College, kicks a field goal and the Lions lead 3-0.

My thoughts: Run defense was unimpressive, especially since the runs were up the middle and the backs got to the second level quickly. Pressure on the final play of the drive was good, and forced three, which you can live with after a big kick return.

Browns ball.

Rookie Taylor Gabriel fails to get the ball to the 20, absorbing a fairly late hit at the sideline. Regardless, here comes the second-most famous person from North Olmsted, Ohio, Brian Hoyer.

Hoyer completes his first two passes, dump offs. His second throw, to Marquis Gray, goes for big yardage. Not sure if Gray will be that wide open when Josh Gordon isn't on the field.

A couple of solid runs from Ben Tate gets the ball to the Lions' 40. From there, Hoyer overthrows Gordon, then on third down gets flushed out of the pocket and has to throw the ball out of bounds.

So they punt.

My thoughts: Hoyer looked to be a little amped up there, but I liked the mix-and-match playcalling. It's been so long since the Browns have had a balance on offense I've forgotten what it looks like. Tate looked good, and the run blocking was solid.

-And that's all for Stafford. If he was making minimum wage, his check would be for about 40 cents. In his place is Dan Orlovsky. I'm pretty sure Orlovsky's goal in every game he plays is to make people forget about how he once ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety in 2008. Returning to the Lions, where the play happened, may not be the best way to do that.

- Barkaveous Mingo leads a blitz that leads to a second-down sack of Orlovsky. Pressure is promising so far, as it blows up a screen on the very next play. Browns force a punt.

Browns ball.

-Hoyer again moves the ball into Lions territory, but on third down overthrows Andrew Hawkins. So that's a trend now. Billy Cundiff ties the game with a field goal.

My thoughts: You can't expect Hoyer to be completely polished after being out of real game action for 10 months. He made a couple of overthrows, but appeared to make good reads that led to some long plays.

-Browns first team defense appeared to have Orlovsky totally overmatched, and forces a quick punt. Detroit announcers (I get the Toledo stations) praising Browns defense.

First quarter ends with Browns possessing the ball. 3-3 tie.

Second Quarter First play of quarter is a Hoyer-to-Gordon completion. Gordon is so good it's scary. And frustrating, knowing he will miss at least half the season.

Hoyer has Miles Austin near the sideline... but Austin drops it. Oh, Quincy Morgan flashbacks, that's all we need.

On a fourth down and five from the Lions' 35, Hoyer hits Austin over the middle. Hoyer looks sharp, with a few exceptions. Perfectly-executed screen to Gordon goes inside the 10. Hoyer's making short passes with ease and getting good protection.

Hoyer has Gordon in the end zone, but Gordon drops it. So a field goal from Cundiff gives the Browns the lead, 6-3.

Quick question: What constitutes a clear recovery? Because it sure looks like the Browns had one on a Lions fumble after the kickoff, but Cleveland loses the challenge.

Armonty Bryant is getting after the quarterback, a good sign for a former seventh round pick. He blows up a play and forces a punt.

And, stop everything, here comes Johnny Manziel.

Manziel runs out of the pistol on third and one and... it doesn't go very well at all. He goes three and out. Hey, he's officially a Browns quarterback now.

John Hughes looks gigantic this season, in pure run-stuffing mode. Lions, however, are doing a great job on the right side of the line with run blocking. That's troubling if only because the Browns have starters still in there. The Lions drive and burn up clock, always a plus in a preseason game. They get to the 15, then Freese adds a field goal to tie things at 6.

Browns content to run the clock until the half.


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