By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
DETROIT – Here are some final thoughts on the Browns’ 19-17 preseason-opening victory against the Lions at Ford Field:
>>It’s always good to start the preseason on a positive note, and winning does that. It is particularly important for a team that is as young as the Browns are to develop the attitude that goes with having success, regardless of whether the game counts. But it was sloppy in many ways. You can find mistakes throughout the Browns’ performance, some painfully familiar and some, well, simply the kind that come from young people playing like young people. The key is that everyone learns from what they did wrong.
>>Yes, Brandon Weeden made some mistakes. An interception, a near interception, and a fumble aren’t exactly the best way to get an NFL quarterbacking career off the ground. Neither is completing only three of nine passes. However, his good plays overshadowed the bad ones during the three series he was on the field. He threw the ball with the same velocity and accuracy that allowed him to win the starting job in training camp. He also showed a fair amount of poise in the face of a strong pass rush and with the roar of an indoor crowd. He will learn. He will improve. He still is the best choice to be the Browns’ starter.
>>Perhaps it is the absence of pressure of no longer being in the No. 1 spot, but Colt McCoy looked mostly relaxed after replacing Weeden. He moved the team fairly well. He didn’t make any exceptional plays, but just looked efficient and poised in the face of a persistent Lions pass rush.
>>The Lions have one of the NFL’s best defensive lines, and that unit simply overpowered the Browns’ starting offensive line. They got plenty of pressure and allowed for little running room. Meanwhile, the Browns’ defensive line put little heat on the Lions’ quarterbacks and stopping the run still looks like a problem for Cleveland. The disclaimer is that the Browns didn’t have their two best tackles, Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor, or middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson.
>>Travis Benjamin verified what we have seen of him throughout offseason workouts and training camp. He simply makes big things happen whenever he touches the ball as a receiver and a returner. He did an excellent job of getting off the line and getting open. He ran precise routes and showed good concentration to make the catch. Benjamin’s ability to stretch the defense figures to be a major game-changing element for the offense.
>>Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz had some issues dealing with the Lions’ wide-nine defensive look because it forced him to have to deal with a pass rusher with no help, essentially working on an island. The crowd noise (and some rookie jitters, no doubt) caused him to be penalized for a false start.
>>Nice work late in the game by rookie cornerback Trevin Wade. He showed good tackling skills and was strong in coverage.
>>You had to like the effort Seneca Wallace made to scramble and then flip a pass over a defender and into the hands of rookie Brad Smelley, who also showed exceptional extra effort to power his way into the end zone.
>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.
>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci
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