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Training Camp

5 players who impressed in the Browns' preseason opener vs. Giants

We're a little more than 36 hours removed from Cleveland's 20-10 preseason victory over the Giants, and we're handing out game balls -- do they do that in the preseason? -- to five Browns who impressed.

QB Tyrod Taylor -- Could you ask for anymore out of the starting quarterback in the first preseason game? Taylor connected with Jarvis Landry on a 32-yard pass on Cleveland's first offensive snap and led the team down the field on a lightning-quick scoring drive to close his night. Taylor's 36-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Njoku allowed him to finish the night with a perfect quarterback rating after going 5-for-5 for 99 yards. This was exactly the kind of performance the Browns have seen from the veteran ever since he arrived in March.

QB Baker Mayfield -- In recent years, the Browns have struggled to find just one quarterback to play consistently under center. On Thursday, they had two, as the No. 1 overall pick shook off a slow start and ultimately led the team to two touchdowns during his two-plus quarters of action. Mayfield converted a number of big third and fourth downs while showing the poise that makes him so successful inside and outside of the pocket. He bought time, went through his reads and threw a pass where only Njoku could catch it for his first touchdown before hitting Antonio Callaway with a laser on a 54-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

TE David Njoku -- The athletic tight end, who led the Browns in touchdown catches last year, picked up right where he left off in his rookie season. Playing in front of friends and family just a few miles outside of his hometown, Njoku showed off his speed when he caught Taylor's over-the-shoulders pass and sprinted 20 yards into the end zone. His touchdown catch required toughness and sticky hands, as Njoku fought off multiple defenders and came down with the 10-yard pass. He'll walk away from MetLife Stadium with a lesson he'll never forget: Don't expect visiting fans to be appreciative of your gifts.

WR Rashard Higgins -- Perhaps no one has improved their personal stock during training camp better than the third-year wide receiver, who made the most of his recent elevation to the first-team offense. Higgins jump-started both of the Browns' first-half scoring drives with big catches, hauling in a 21-yard pass from Taylor on third-and-1 and a 26-yarder from Mayfield on the second play of what became a 14-play, 72-yard drive. Higgins finished with a team-best four catches for 66 yards.

The Browns defense -- Is this taking the easy way out? Maybe. But the Browns defense did pretty much what you needed to do in a preseason setting. After surrendering a big run to Saquon Barkley on the first play of the game, the Browns buckled down, held the Giants to a field goal and largely muted New York's offense the rest of the way. The Giants' only touchdown came after a Browns fumble inside their own 15-yard line. Before that score, Cleveland's defense had forced six punts in the previous seven drives, a stretch that was briefly interrupted by a drive that stalled at the end of the first half. The Browns' offseason moves have given defensive coordinator Gregg Williams a lot to work with, as a number of Cleveland's second-teamers came into Thursday's game with significant starting experience.

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