Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Quickfire Review- Browns at Bengals

What I Liked for the Browns

1. Youth in Revolt- The Browns made a bold choice to go with rookies Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson at Quarterback and tailback respectively, and they showed a lot of good things against the Bengals after an abysmal opener. While I'm hesitant to crown Weeden immediately- he racked up a lot of stats chasing the Bengals lead and throwing checkdowns, I did love that he avoided any costly errors against a capable defense. Richardson looked fantastic, especially on an explosive touchdown reception where he looked impossible to tackle, and another rookie, 2nd round tackle Mitchell Schwartz, played a solid game.

2. Más Massaquoi- While the talk was, as usual, all about new acquisitions like Gordon and Benjamin, the real impact at receiver in Cleveland needs to come from incumbent starters Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi. While neither looks like a true no.1, the perennially disappointing Massaquoi hinted that he might be the kind of reliable seam option who can produce in the West Coast offense, especially given Weeden's ability to throw over the middle.

What I liked for the Bengals

1. Playmakers, playmakers everywhere- I have no idea where Jay Gruden keeps finding these people, but the Bengals seem able to consistently put very real talent around Andy Dalton. This was easily Dalton's best game since the first half of last year, and he was enormously helped by contributions from the electric Andrew Hawkins and the impressive Armon Binns("Who?" -Everybody). The emergence of these young playmakers is only going to aid Dalton's development, and open up things further for the real blue chip talents, AJ Green and Jermaine Gresham.

2. A Special Day- The Bengals did a great job in the third phase on Sunday, consistently generating yardage on returns, limiting the impact of the very dangerous Josh Cribbs, and springing a thrilling punt return touchdown from "The Artist formerly known as Pacman" Jones. 

What I didn't like for the Browns

1.  Mourning Joe- Joe Haden is the Browns' best player outside of Joe Thomas, and those two are so far ahead of the rest of the side it's almost comic. The Browns need Buster Skrine to play a lot better than he did Sunday if they want to make it through Haden's suspension without digging a hole they can't get out of.

2. Mutiny of the Bounties- I've never liked Scott Fujita especially as a player, and I have little respect for him as a person after the dubious shenanigans of bountygate. Whether or not the NFL may have overreached in the specificity of their accusations, to me it stands without doubt that the Saints players and coaches were involved in a culture most of us would consider morally reprehensible, and went to great lengths to cover it up. As it stands in Cleveland at the moment, it's got to be unwise to give so much playing time to the uninspiring and possibly evil Fujita while failing to give blue collar, impact rookie LJ Fort a single snap on defense.

What I didn't like for the Bengals

1. Livin' on the edge- The Bengals desperately need the likes of Michael Johnson, who recorded a sack but  not much else, to step up in the absence of blue chip edge rusher Robert Geathers. Brandon Weeden had a host of problems when tormented by Jason Babin and Trent Cole, but the Bengals failed to get after the rookie and instead let him pick them apart all day.

2. Run Dimensional - Don;t get me wrong, I loved the acquisition of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, a player whose consistency and sure hands will bring a very steady presence to a young offensive unit. However, he's not going to set the world alight, and the Bengals need to incorporate their other runners, especially the intriguing Brian Leonard, into their gameplan more if they want to really threaten opponents on the ground.

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