Brandon Weeden and the rest of the Browns offense got the reality check they needed during Saturday's 27-6 thumping by the Colts. In the previous two preseason games it looked too easy for an offense full of young players running a new scheme. They scored on five of six possessions and outscored the Rams' and Lions' first-teamers 27-3. Weeden was completing 72 percent of his passes and had catapulted to No. 2 in the NFL with a 139.8 rating with three TD passes and no interceptions. National pundits touted him as an up-and-comer and climbed onto the bandwagon. Local critics followed suit. If it had continued that way in Indianapolis the Browns might've been lulled into a false sense of security heading into the season-opener against the Dolphins Sept. 8. In the words of Bengals coach Marvin Lewis who watched his previously undefeated Bengals crumble against the Cowboys in their dress rehearsal game Saturday night “Now we can quit having all that smoke puffed up our butts and we can get to work.'' It's the same for the Browns. They played a good Colts team one that went 11-5 last year and made the playoffs and discovered they still have a ways to go. The defense was equally bad but it gets a bit of a pass because it was missing four key players in defensive end Desmond Bryant outside linebackers Jabaal Sheard and Barkevious Mingo and cornerback Chris Owens. With cornerback Trevin Wade (shoulder) also idle rookie Leon McFadden debuted in the nickel and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck took full advantage. I fully expect the defense to play better when the injured players return which should be this week at least for Sheard. But the offense? The only key player standing on the sidelines was receiver Davone Bess who's become Weeden's go-to guy on third down. Perhaps that explains the Browns' woeful third-down performance with only 1-of-6 converted in the first half and 3-of-10 overall. Running back Dion Lewis (broken leg) is likely lost for the season and right guards Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao are out until mid- to late-September with their ankle injuries but the Browns had most of the offense intact and struggled mightily against the Colts.
Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns offense get a reality check in Indianapolis
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Aug 26