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Tony's Take: High marks for Browns everywhere but on offense

Sep 09, 2012 -- 7:07pm

By Tony Grossi


Tony’s Take on Browns 17-16 loss to Philadelphia Eagles

Offense: Brandon Weeden was shockingly bad – 12 of 35 for 118 yards and four interceptions, 5.1 passer rating. He missed open receivers in the end zone twice. Ouch, ballgame. The offensive line was weak, but at least did not exacerbate a bad day with false starts and holds. Trent Richardson (19 carries for 39 yards) gets a pass because of the lack of running room. At least he made it through the game unscathed after missing all of the preseason after knee surgery. It looked like the best day belonged to Mohamed Massaquoi (3 catches for 41 yards). Bottom line: Lots of room for improvement.

Defense: Interceptions by Joe Haden (50-yard return), L.J. Fort, Craig Robertson and D’Qwell Jackson (27-yard TD return), and a fumble recovery by Jackson after a force by T.J. Ward. Ahtyba Rubin, Jabaal Sheard and Juqua Parker chased Michael Vick on a great majority of his 56 pass attempts. Ward and Fort nabbed sacks. Fort may have dropped a potential game-sealing INT, but he also had a hit on Vick and two passes broken up. Bottom line: Despite 456 total yards, this was a superlative effort.

Special teams: Phil Dawson had field goals of 43, 42 and 22 yards in his 200th career game. Josh Cribbs had a 23-yard punt return and a 39-yard kickoff return. The coverage units were outstanding. The Browns held a 14-yard edge in average drive start. Bottom line: Held up their end.

Coaching: If you remove the offense from this equation, Pat Shurmur and his staff had a great day. I don’t fault Shurmur for not trying for two points after Jackson’s go-ahead TD with 13:59 to play. Truth is, none of the good coaches would make that call with so much time left. Dick Jauron did a terrific job game-planning and play-calling and LB coach Billy Davis deserves credit for coaching up his young linebackers. Bottom line: This close to being a victorious first game.

Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com.

He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to tgrossi@espncleveland.com

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi

 

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