The Saturday's 33-14 loss to the St. Louis Rams marks a winless preseason so far. Is this a cause for panic for the new and improved Browns in the 2014 regular season? Yes, of course it is because the offense as a whole has played pretty poorly in the first three games and has saw a real disconnect between quarterback and receiver. This is not an issue of quarterback competition as both contenders have looked bad in the preseason. If Cleveland receivers have a hard time finding the end zone, then this will be a very frustrating year for fans but unfortunately that's what they have become accustom to.
Before the game against the Rams, Browns' coach Mike Pettine announced that Brian Hoyer had been named the starter for the season opener in Pittsburgh. Regardless of who was named starter, many people wanted to see either Hoyer or Manziel make some kind of progress with the ragtag group of receivers that have been assembled. This has obviously not been the case. Neither quarterback has really made a strong argument for starting.
Brian Hoyer was finally able to throw for a touchdown against St. Louis matching Manziel's touchdown shovel pass last week against the Redskins. Unfortunately the other first for Hoyer in the preseason was his interception thrown in the second quarter intended for Miles Austin. To surprise many people, the backup quarterback has not thrown any interceptions in this learning process that is the preseason.
On the day, Hoyer went 10/16 for 84 yards and a fumble while Manziel's stats were similar going 10/15 for 85 yards but with no touchdowns. The rookie was however able to show some flash dashing headfirst in the end zone for a 7 yard touchdown run.
The ground game saw a bit of a decline in production against the Ram's solid run defense. The running back tandem of newly acquired Ben Tate and rookie Terrence West combined for only 22 yards.
The receiver core has not seemed to find any definitive playmakers to count on and it seems that a wide variety of players will be getting minimal yards per game while no one receiver will be putting up big numbers. Eight different wide receivers obtained anywhere from 10 to 36 yards for the night.
The defense as well took a step back from last week by only recording one interception and one sack for the game. The defense also allowed 343 yards passing and 142 yards rushing. This was accomplished by 4 different quarterbacks and 7 different backs by the Rams.
So is it time to panic about the Cleveland Browns offense? Yes, it is a little but they are still coming out of the game in a much better situation than the St. Louis Rams who lost starting quarterback Sam Bradford for the season because of yet another ACL knee injury. The Browns' offense will be better evaluated against the sub-par defense of the Chicago Bears when they meet for the last preseason game on Thursday August 28th.
Notable: Rookie Michael Sam lead St. Louis in sacks, including a sack on Johnny Manziel