Saturday, August 31, 2013

Should fans be concerned about Browns loss to Colts?

By Karl Kimbrough, Cleveland Urban News.Com Sportswriter. Reach Kimbrough at

Cleveland Urban News.Com
Sportswriter Karl Kimbrough

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CLEVELAND, Ohio- What really happened at the Indianapolis Colts Lucas Oil Stadium last week? Did the Colts 27 to 6 win over the Cleveland Browns reveal that the Colts are that much better than the Browns?

It was the third preseason game which many consider to be the dress rehearsal for the first regular season game. However, every coach has his philosophy about how to approach that third preseason game. 

While Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski did not come out and say he was looking forward to the game against the Colts as the dress rehearsal for the regular season, he also did not say otherwise. Chudzinski appeared unhappy about the way some of the players, especially Brandon Weeden, played against Indianapolis. This was mainly because Weeden did not get in the rhythm the coach wanted him to. He wants Weeden to carry a good rhythm in the regular season.  So should fans and the Browns be concerned about them being beaten soundly by the Colts first string players on offense, defense, and special teams? Does this game show the level of talent and ability that this 2013 version of the Browns have?

Well, according to Browns starting inside linebacker D' Qwell Jackson, the poor performance against the Colts is not and shouldn't be a concern for the team and fans.

Starting quarterback Brandon Weeden commented  to reporters that“I don't think there is reason to push the panic button like a lot of people want to.”

There are at least four reasons not to think the Colts are as dominant over the Browns as the outcome indicated.

1.    Injuries sustained by the Browns prior to game three left them without the services of 11 players. Five of which would have played had it been a regular season game.               
2.   Teams do not game plan for each other in preseason.                  
3.   The third preseason game film is the game film that must be given to each team’s first opponent of the regular season. So the Browns having a new coaching staff did not show many of the plays or schemes they will use against the Miami Dolphins in game one of the regular season so that Miami won’t know their tendencies.               
4.          The Browns played very well in the first two preseason games. They outscored their opponents 27 to 3 when the first team players were in the game.        

As fans, we want to see our team turn up the intensity against good teams to show that they are good enough to win. But, especially in the preseason coaches and players have other agenda. The Colts had played so bad in their home preseason game that their owner issued an apology to the fans. So they were out to redeem themselves.

 On the other hand, the Browns first team offense, defense, and special teams had done just what they wanted the first two games. Except, Cleveland left their victory over the Detroit Lions on August 14th with major injuries to first round pick Barkevious Mingo (bruised lung), starting guard Jason Pinkston (sprained ankle), kick returner and change of pace running back Dion Lewis (broken ankle), blocking tight end Gary Barnidge (shoulder injury).

It is only natural after a preseason game with so many injuries that the players and coaches are a bit shell shocked and start looking forward to the regular season to be injury free. Quite frankly, while watching the third preseason game against Indianapolis it appeared that some of the Browns players were not playing with much effort. Football is a sport where lack of effort, individually and as a team, will get you beat quickly.

It was obvious that the Cleveland offense, defense, and special teams were not competing hard. The mental mistakes of leaving receivers wide open for a touchdown, missing tackles that were not missed in previous games, and not playing with intensity on kick and punt return coverage, all add up to “poor effort.”  If the Cleveland football team plays this way in the regular season even once then it is time for concern. But after two good efforts in the prior preseason games it is not time to be worried.

After all, like former NBA star guard Alan Iverson said, “its only practice” not the real game or season yet that we look forward to. Most teams that go 4 and 0 in the preseason do not win championships or even go to the playoffs. So maybe its a good thing to lose some preseason games.