Saturday, August 29, 2009
Browns preseason observations: Quinn the starter?
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
CLEVELAND -- In what was a big night for the quarterbacks, the Browns played their best preseason game to date with a 23-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
Here are some observations on the Browns from Saturday's game:
- This was considered a swing game for the quarterbacks and both played well. But by the end of the night, Brady Quinn put a stronger hold on becoming the team's next starter. Quinn threw the football well and had a stellar outing, completing 11-of-15 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown. Quinn was efficient in moving the chains and led the Browns to three scoring drives that consisted of one touchdown and two field goals. His best throw was a 20-yard touchdown strike in stride to receiver Braylon Edwards.
- Derek Anderson also showed well for himself but it likely wasn't enough. He led one scoring drive that ended in a field-goal to start the third quarter. Anderson finished 7 for 11 for 77 yards. It will be interesting to see when Browns head coach Eric Mangini makes his final quarterback decision. If Mangini decides at this point before next week's preseason finale, it would have to be Quinn based on performance.
- Cleveland's first-team defense played hard. The run fits were solid. Tennessee has a terrific tandem in Chris Johnson and LenDale White, and the Browns defended them well and held the pair to a combined 47 yards rushing. The first-half defense also held firm in the red zone and allowed just one touchdown in three trips, not to mention an interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter off Tennessee's Vince Young by backup linebacker Alex Hall.
- But an area Cleveland's defense struggled with was against the pass. The starting secondary looked very shaky, particularly in the first half as Titans starting quarterback Kerry Collins picked the unit apart, completing 11 of his 14 attempts for 102 yards and a touchdown. Even Young led a solid two-minute drive where the Titans marched down the field with ease. But Young fumbled near the goal to end the first half.
- Odd play of the night: Anderson was flagged for 15 yards because he stood too far off the sideline and collided with a referee during a passing play. The unsuspecting referee was not happy. Neither was Mangini with the call.
- Rookie tailback James Davis continues to impress. He rushed for 28 yards on five carries (5.6 yard average) and continues to show the burst Cleveland is seeking for in its running game behind starter Jamal Lewis. Davis also had four catches out the backfield for 27 yards. Jerome Harrison is competing with Davis this summer but was inactive for the second straight preseason game, which continues to widen the gap in favor of Davis.