Browns' defense rose to the challenge to stuff Alfred Morris
Almost lost in all of the discussion about the poor quarterback play against the Washington Redskins last Monday night was what could very well have been a defining moment of the Cleveland Browns' preseason.
It came early in the second quarter, when, with the Redskins going for it on fourth-and-goal from the Cleveland 1, the Browns' defense kept them out of the end zone. Just as they had done on three previous plays, the Browns' defenders slammed the door on an Alfred Morris run.
They were stout. They were tenacious. They were relentless.
In short, they displayed all of the qualities that first-year coach Mike Pettine, a former defensive coordinator, wants to see from the group on a regular basis. And it's that sort of performance that reaffirms the validity of the blueprint that he and general manager Ray Farmer are using to build a successful team.
"I think one of the most exciting things in football is a goal line stand," Pettine said. "I thought it was just a great tribute to our guys. We haven't gotten a ton of goal-line reps (in practice), and to see the way that they responded and to see the mentality that they took in a preseason game, that's what we want. We talk about the defense being a foundation here and being a big part of what we do."
As thrilled as Pettine was with the goal-line stand and the rest of the Browns' sterling defensive performance Monday night, he is looking forward to seeing more of the same when his team plays its first home game of the preseason against the St. Louis Rams Saturday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.
He expects it to draw a rousing reaction from the crowd.
"The only thing that would have been better (than the goal-line stand against the Redskins) is if we could have done that at home; I can only imagine the reaction of the crowd if that had happened," Pettine said. "That's one of the things we're looking forward to the most.
"We played back to back on the road. That's great, (we) got used to traveling. I just think we need to start to develop that relationship with our fans. Get the Dawg Pound rolling again. We know the best way to do that is go out there and play great football."
ELSEWHERE AROUND THE NFL …
IN CASE NEW YORK JETSquarterback Geno Smith wasn't feeling enough pressure, his backup, Mike Vick, applied a little bit more in comments he made to the New York Daily News about the need to be successful this season. "There wasn't patience with me (after joining the Atlanta Falcons as the top overall pick of the 2001 draft)," Vick was quoted as saying. "There wasn't patience with Brett Favre. I've seen Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco go in there as rookies. Ben Roethlisberger. They had to get it done and they got it done. There's really no patience, just being honest. …We got to win and we got to win now."
THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERSare already replacing the turf in their new home, Levi's Stadium. On Wednesday, the 49ers were forced to cut short a practice in front of their fans at the stadium after several players slipped on loose sod. >>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.