Browns: Thumbs up, thumbs down after preseason game No. 2

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns did some things well against the New York Giants, but some other areas still need a lot of work before the regular season begins.

The Cleveland Browns won their second consecutive preseason game on Monday night, defeating the New York Giants.

But that in no way means that all is well with the Orange and Brown.

There were some good things that happened on the field at FirstEnergy Stadium, but most of it is overshadowed by the reality that the offense – most notably the quarterback position – is in no way ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the season-opening game on Sept. 10.

As in, 2007 not ready. Maybe even 1999 not ready. (OK, that one might be a bit of a stretch.)

In the first half, when most of the starters were on the field for New York’s defense, the Browns did little other than turn the ball over, on a Brock Osweiler interception; commit penalties, two on right guard Kevin Zeitler and two on left tackle Rod Johnson; and look ill-prepared not only for the regular season, but for Saturday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It all left head coach Hue Jackson searching for answers, according to

"“The offense, we are still playing really spotty. We started off with too many penalties early, and that put is in a hole when we are always trying to dig out so we are not where we need to be yet and I get that. We are going to keep working at it and get better.”"

It wasn’t all doom and gloom, however, so let’s take a quick look at some of the good, and not so good, from the game.

Thumbs down: Brock Osweiler did little to strengthen his tenuous hold on the starting quarterback position.

Osweiler played the first two series of the game, finishing just six-of-eight for 25 yards and the interception on a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Osweiler was consistently high with his passes and just does not look comfortable playing the position.

Thumbs up: Quarterback DeShone Kizer earns a thumbs up simply by being better than Osweiler – but that is not the same as being good.

Kizer finished eight-of-13 for 74 yards, took two sacks, threw an interception that was negated by a penalty, and held onto the ball far too long, a problem that Browns fans should be familiar with after watching last year’s team.

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Kizer deserves credit for getting the Browns into the end zone, as he led a 28-yard touchdown drive after cornerback Jason McCourty forced a fumble. Far too often in the past we’ve seen the Browns squander scoring opportunities like that, so let’s not undersell Kizer point a touchdown on the board in that situation.

Thumbs up: In contrast to the offense, the defense was feisty and ready to go.

The Browns shut down the Giants in the first half, giving up three points, six first downs and just 99 yards of total offense against a team that, according to the ESPN announcers, has Super Bowl aspirations this season.

Defensive end Myles Garrett had his first sack, safety Jabrill Peppers was active, cornerback Jason McCourty forced a fumble, cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun had an interception, and linebacker Joe Schobert was the star of the night with six tackles, a sack and a near-miss on an interception.

Not a bad showing at all for a lot of guys the current regime brought to town.

Thumbs down: Penalties continue to plague this team and that simply cannot happen.

A week after committing 12 penalties against the New Orleans Saints, the Browns added another nine on Monday night against the Giants.

For a team that has enough trouble even when things are going right, the Browns have to find a way to stop hurting their own cause.

Thumbs up: With starting running back Isaiah Crowell out with a groin injury, seventh-round draft selection Matthew Dayes had a chance to show what he can do and made the most of his opportunity.

Dayes finished with 44 yards of offense as he rushed five times and have five receptions. He appears to be in a great position to claim a roster spot and has everyone questioning just how he lasted until the penultimate pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.

CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 21: A group of Cleveland Browns players kneel in a circle in protest during the national anthem prior to a preseason game against the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 21: A group of Cleveland Browns players kneel in a circle in protest during the national anthem prior to a preseason game against the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Thumbs up: A dozen players kneeled prior to the game, and were joined by several teammates who placed their hand on their shoulders, in a silent moment of protest and prayer over the current situation in the country.

Linebacker Christian Kirksey led the team during the prayer, and tight end Seth DeValve joined in because he wants to see a better tomorrow.

DeValve, whose wife is African-American, explained his decision, according to ESPN:

"“I myself will be raising children that don’t look like me, and I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now. So I wanted to take the opportunity with my teammates during the anthem to pray for our country and also to draw attention to the fact that we have work to do.”"

It was a well thought out and well executed moment that did not distract from the game. Well done by everyone involved.

With two preseason games in the books and what is generally considered the biggest preseason game of them all coming up on Saturday, the Browns gave Jackson and the coaching staff plenty to think about on Monday night.

Next: Dawg Pound Daily Podcast: Episode 17

With the opening game of the regular season just 19 days away, hopefully Jackson can come up with some good answers in a hurry.