1st-half thoughts: Turning up heat

Posted Sep 8, 2013

Browns Senior Editor Vic Carucci gives his thoughts on the first half of the season-opener against the Dolphins.

Here are my first-half thoughts from the Browns’ season-opener against the Dolphins Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium:

>>Delayed pressure. After giving Ryan Tannehill far too much time to operate in the first quarter, the Browns’ new and improved defensive front got after him in the second with three sacks (two by newcomer end Desmond Bryant and one by newcomer outside linebacker Quentin Groves) and generally strong pressure. So far, the Browns’ attack-style, 3-4 defense has lived up to the lofty expectations of making life miserable for the opposing quarterback. It also has done a very nice job of stuffing the run.

>>Offense starts warming up. For most of the half, the Browns have been unable to get a whole lot going on the ground or in the air. The Dolphins’ defense has been winning most of the physical battles up front. And when they haven’t, the Browns’ offense has done its share to stop itself. Brandon Weeden has thrown three interceptions, with two coming off of tipped passes by Greg Little and tight end Jordan Cameron, and has had two passes batted at the line – the continuation of a problem that plagued him last year. But the Browns did get in gear late in the half with a 56-yard drive capped by Weeden’s nice scoring throw to Cameron. Running back Trent Richardson has averaged 4.1 yards per carry on eight attempts, but he hasn't made much of an impact.

>>Secondary holding its own. This has been the largest area of concern, but so far it has been playing pretty solidly, thanks in large part to the pressure the front seven began generating in the second quarter. Safety Tashaun Gipson intercepted a pass deflected by inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson.

>>Cousins struggling. The Browns’ problems at right guard continue. After losing Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston to ankle injuries, the team has tried to get by with Oneil Cousins at the position. But Cousins has had a tough day, drawing penalties for illegal-hands-to-the-face (which wiped out an 18-yard Weeden completion to Davone Bess early in the second quarter) and holding and getting beat multiple times.

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