The Cleveland Browns continued their winning ways with a late game comeback over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-9.
Here’s my takeaways from the win
Kizer is ready
DeShone Kizer made his debut as the starting quarterback and the moment didn’t seem too big for the 21 year old.
You’ll look at his stat line (6-18, 93 yards, 1 INT) and think it was a bad game but you have to go and watch the tape to fully assess his performance.
The interception thrown was completely on Kizer who tried to force it to Higgins on a third and long situation after a pass interference call that shouldn’t have been made on Corey Coleman.
There was also dropped passes which aren’t on Kizer, one by Kenny Britt which killed a drive and forced the Browns to settle on a field goal.
Of course it wasn’t all negative for Kizer. He came up big on third downs, making some great throws to keep drives alive. His chemistry with Coleman was clicking big time on Saturday night as Coleman (4 catches for 66 yards) was the recipient for the majority of those third down throws.
Hue Jackson said he wasn’t ready to name Kizer but Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported that Sunday will be the day Jackson informs his quarterbacks that Kizer will be the man to lead the Browns against Pittsburgh on September 10.
Defense is ready
The Cleveland Browns defense looks ready to go for the regular season.
They faced another test in quarterback Jameis Winston who was without his top two targets Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson.
From the start, the pass rush tried to make Winston feel uncomfortable and it was effective.
Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers, the team’s first round picks continued to show why they will be a force this coming season and for years to come.
Garrett pressured Winston into a quick decision and Peppers capitalized on that mistake.
Garrett was credited with just a QB hit Saturday night but if you go back and look at the tape, the guy was creating pressure all night which is something this Browns defense hasn’t had in a long time.
Peppers had three tackles, a pass deflection and of course that interception. He’s getting comfortable in that free safety position and while he was knocked for having one interception in college, he proved Saturday he can get that ball.
The Browns defense racked up five sacks on Saturday which is a sign of things to come in Gregg Williams. Christian Kirksey, Carl Nassib, Emmanuel Ogbah, Tyrone Holmes and Xavier Cooper each recorded a sack and I think the depth of talent in that front seven is going to cause a problem for offensive coordinators all season long.
It’s also going to provide a problem for Sashi Brown and Coach Jackson next weekend when the cut downs happen.
Hogan over Kessler?
Kevin Hogan was the man under center who led the Browns on the game winning drive, going 87 yards in 1:29 in the final minutes of the game, capping it off with a five yard pass to Jordan Leslie for the touchdown.
Hogan finished the game 7-13 for 82 yards and a touchdown. He also provided 19 yards rushing on five carries.
He’s competing with Cody Kessler for the third and potentially the backup role pending on Brock Osweiler’s future with the team.
Kessler finished 6-10 for 48 yards and also took two sacks. His pocket presence and awareness still is a downfall in his games. He can’t seem to figure out when to get that ball out quickly and then is trapped by the pass rush.
If I’m Sashi Brown and Coach Jackson, you’d have to strongly consider trading or releasing Kessler next weekend and admit that it was a mistake taking him in the third round.
I don’t know who was responsible for that pick but just cut your losses and move on.
I liked Hogan coming out of Stanford and thought he would be a nice developmental project for a few years. Much like Kessler, he doesn’t have a strong arm but is accurate and as an added bonus he’s mobile and can extend plays with his legs which Kessler can’t.
If the Browns will move Osweiler then you have to keep both Kessler and Hogan but if Osweiler stays, you have a tough decision but I don’t think ultimately it’s that tough.