The Browns have been the doormat of the National Football League for years. The only way to change perceptions is to walk the walk and talk the talk. The Browns did do some talking, and then they did some walking (into the end zone).
But the defense settled down after that. Giving up a field goal on the opening drive. They looked good. Bend, but don’t break.
That drive was highlighted by rookie Cornerback Denzel Ward unloading on Giants Wide Receiver Hunter Sharp, and then letting him know about it. The trash talk drew a flag, but I loved it. We need that. We need to start intimidating on defense.
And the trash talking didn’t stop there. On the Browns first offensive series, newly acquired Jarvis Landry was the beneficiary of a long pass on Cleveland’s first play. He too was flagged for running his mouth after the play, but I don’t care. We need that. We need to start intimidating on both sides of the ball.
Once all of the trash talking was out of our system, we settled down and played some ball. The defense ended the Giants second drive with a sack and the offense came out in the hurry up.
It only took them 4 plays to go 66 yards and get in the end zone in just over a minute. A 36-yard touchdown pass to Tight End David Njoku got the Browns on the board.
Hurry up? In the first quarter? YES!
If you’re going to change perceptions and start intimidating, you have to get other teams guessing. Get them on their heels and that’s what the Browns did. The bullied became the bully.
The first-team defense looked strong. The first-team offense followed suit. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor looked like an NFL quarterback. The back-shoulder throw to Rashard Higgins and the strike to Njoku. He was in command.
Can we please stop the Baker Mayfield should start talk now? Please! Yes, he made some nice throws……
And I loved Todd Haley going for it on 4th and 2 in the second quarter. Again- changing perceptions. Baker had to throw into a tight window on the touchdown pass to Njoku (get him on your fantasy team), his second of the game.
I also loved the call by Haley to go for two. We have got to start kicking teams in the teeth out of the gate. Send a message. Be the aggressor.
Baker threw into an even tighter window when he found Antonio Callaway on a slant on 3rd and 4 at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Yes, it was the Giants 3rd string defense, but a tight window is a tight window.
Baker looks the part. He looks every bit the part, but Mayfield’s got time to prepare. Let him cook. Leave him in the oven. He gets the chance to learn behind a true professional. The offense is in good hands with Tyrod. We don’t need to rush Baker.
Game one of the preseason did nothing to curb my enthusiasm. There are so many weapons on this offense and an offensive coordinator who knows how to use them all. And there may be even more help on the way…..
The defense looks every bit the part, too. This is going to be a fun season Cleveland. You gotta believe. We’re off to a good start. And we are beating Pittsburgh game one!