OK, it was a touch football game for all practical purposes. I mean, there was a 15 yard penalty because someone tackled the ball carrier. You can’t tell a lot from a situation like this. Still, I have a few observations and take aways from my visit to the Family Day scrimmage at the stadium.
So here they are, in no particular order:
- Despite published reports, Jake Delhomme was not terrible. He also wasn’t fantastic, either. Workmanlike perhaps. That’s what I think the Browns are looking for out of Jake anyway.
- Seneca Wallace took a while to get warmed up, but I liked some things he did. He had a very nice long pass to Chris Jennings. He can throw. The way the teams were divided, though, Wallace didn’t have a lot of targets on the White team.
- Colt McCoy’s struggles have been well documented. Yes, he had two interceptions, but one was the last play of the first half on a ball that was up for grabs. The other interception that turned into a pick six was a classic bad rookie throw. He also held the ball too long on pretty much every pass play.
- Brett Ratliff, ugh. When his best play of the day was a reception, well, that tells you a lot.
- We got some looks at some trick plays. James Davis took direct snaps, Chansi Stuckey threw it (a nice looking pass, by the way) off a reverse, Cribbs wanted to throw as well. Given the way the teams were divided up, there wasn’t a lot of the wildcat, though. Some.
- Speaking of James Davis, rumors of his demise are premature. It was hard for the running backs to do much given the nature of the scrimmage, but Davis was a one of the standouts. Chris Jennings was no slouch, but Davis was better on this day.
- Despite a fumble and a penalty, Evan Moore looked good, too. People who are saying he won’t make the team are crazy.
- Bobby Engram exceeded my expectations. He was the outlet receiver on several plays for the White team.
- Josh Cribbs played defense and rushed the passer (!). Also, Eric Wright played wide receiver and had a reception. Wright looked fast.
- Benjamin Watson made a fantastic play on the only offensive touchdown of the day. Nice, nice footwork.
- Joe Thomas is a beast.
- John St. Clair better pick things up. Once Tony Pashos returns, you have to figure four guys are vying for the right side of the o-line and St. Clair is currently #4. Since Pashos, Womack, and Lauvao play multiple positions, well, St. Clair has an uphill fight.
- Both Matt Roth and Jason Trusnick were in the backfield often. They looked like they both picked up right where they left off in January.
- Since “in the neighborhood” was a sack, the defense maybe looked a bit better than it should have. In a scrimmage like this, it was tough to even tell where the ball should be spotted based on when the ball carrier was touched. Since Jerome Harrison is someone who often slips through cracks between the tackles, this kind of situation made him fairly ineffective.
- Syndric Steptoe looked terrible both as a receiver and on special teams. No way he makes the team.
- Ahtyba Rubin batted down a pass. There were a lot of batted balls. Way too many.
- Titus Adams also made some plays.
- Joe Haden looks like he can play. He did some nice things. He got off to a rough start by muffing a kickoff.
- Phil Dawson had some good kickoffs. He made a 60-yard kick in warm-ups.
- Reggie Hodges had a shank that marred his day, but got a nice roll that helped him out.
The teams were divided up in ways that were hard to figure out. Lots of guys were missing that could play key roles like Shaun Rogers, Peyton Hillis, Montario Hardesty, and David Bowens. There were lots of substitutions to get everyone in the game. It made it difficult to get a read on things.
I’d say the Browns are looking to be the “run first” team we all expect them to be with some better passing than last year (how can it be worse?) and some wildcat. I think the defense will continue to use scheming and confusion, using unorthodox personnel groupings and sending rushers from all over the place.
That being said, the offense looked pretty ineffective a lot of the time. With the inability to run and lots of phantom sacks, the offense was in second-and-17 kinds of situations many times. On defense, the safeties were victimized pretty consistently. That’s a worry going into September.
Let’s see how things look with regular personnel groupings and real football rules.
Let the games begin. The Browns face the Packers Saturday at Lambeau.
The season is short. Bark hard!