Thursday night’s preseason finale at FirstEnergy Stadium wasn’t about the Cleveland Browns’ starters having their way with the Chicago Bears’ backups.
It wasn’t about the opponent. It wasn’t about the fact that it happened in the least significant of the insignificant games that NFL teams play in August.
“It didn’t matter what (the Bears) were doing,” coach Mike Pettine said after the Browns’ 33-13 victory. “It was about us. We needed to play to our standards and really keep them nameless and faceless.”
He struggled through most of the first three preseason games. It’s hard to point to one reason for that, but it’s fair to say that the list included Hoyer pressing far too much. He appeared to allow himself to be, at the very least, distracted by the competition with
On Thursday night, Hoyer looked and played like a different person in leading the Browns to a touchdown in his one-series-and-done appearance along with the rest of the Browns’ starting offense. He had a bounce in his step. He carried himself with a greater sense of confidence and comfort.
For the first time since the Browns made Manziel the 22nd overall pick of last May’s NFL draft, there was no mistaking that Hoyer was the starter in everything he did and said on and off the field.
The rest of the Browns’ starting offense performed the same way. Receivers, especially those battling on the fringes of the roster (i.e.
Sure, there were some issues on the back end of the Browns’ defense. Second-year cornerback
But most of those back-end problems should be solved when two players who were spectators Thursday night,
The feel-good aspect of the preseason finale is gone. The game served its confidence-boosting purpose.
Now, it’s time to apply that to the games that count.>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 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. We take your questions at 216-578-0850 and via Twitter @Browns_Daily.