One game remains before the Browns are forced to reduce their roster size from 90 to 75.
It's an important time during the preseason, and last night marked another big opportunity for players on the Browns to establish themselves and gain confidence. Here are the five who maximized it in Thursday's 24-13 loss to the Falcons.
QB Robert Griffin III - A quarterback rating of 154.2 will get you on this list every day of the week and twice on Sunday, but Griffin's performance was encouraging for so many more reasons. The comfort in which he operated the offense was apparent, and he showed he can incorporate a variety of his receivers on a number of different types of routes. The mobility Griffin showed on two designed runs added a new element to the offense and allowed the athletically gifted quarterback to show he can slide and properly avoid unnecessary contact.
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. - For a second straight week, Pryor left an established cornerback in his dust on a deep route down the right sidelines. On Thursday, it was Desmond Trufant, who has started every game since he entered the NFL in 2013. Like Griffin, Pryor continues to build off previous strong performances to come back with something better. When Corey Coleman, Josh Gordon and Andrew Hawkins return from injuries, defenses will have a hard time deciding how they'll distribute their resources thanks to Pryor's emergence.
The Browns played the Falcons at FirstEnergy Stadium for the second game of the preseason.
DB Jamar Taylor - A strong training camp has put Taylor in position as the team's top option at nickel, and the former Miami Dolphins defensive back continues to show he's comfortable in his new surroundings. Taylor finished with two tackles and one key pass defensed that forced Atlanta to punt on its second drive. Taylor stayed close to Mohamed Sanu and dove at the perfect time to knock the ball away and send the Falcons offense back to the sidelines.
DL Carl Nassib - On one of Nassib's first plays, he used all 6-foot-7 of his frame to leap and deflect a pass. Later in the first half, Nassib dropped quarterback Matt Schaub for an apparent sack, but the play was nullified by an illegal contact penalty in the secondary. He left little room for doubt in the second half when he barreled around the edge, strip-sacked Matt Simms and pounced on the fumble. Through two preseason games, Nassib is tied for second in the league in sacks and leads all rookies.
DB Derrick Kindred - The fourth-round safety from TCU was all over the field and had a nose for the ball in some extensive work. He brought energy and enthusiasm not only to his work on defense, but also on special teams, the area where he is likeliest to see more consistent playing time in his first season with the Browns. "I'm still learning the defense and things like that," Kindred said Thursday. "I'm securing my role and getting better on special teams. That's where I feel I can make an impact on this team first. I'm really most focused on special teams and then eventually work myself into the defense."