An Ohio team defeated an Urban Meyer coached team, yes you read that right. Cleveland Browns kicked off the preseason with a 23-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The starters didn’t really play much for Cleveland. A few made an appearance, most watched from the sideline. Just a team based choice that makes a ton of sense due to the risk of injury in a meaningless game. It’ll be interesting to watch how much the Browns rollout starters during the remaining two preseason games.
The third wide receiver position battle is real
Donovan Peoples-Jones has had a great training camp and it rolled into some game play for him in the Browns’ first exhibition. The most important note could be that Peoples-Jones exited the game before Rashard Higgins, it could be something; then again it could be nothing.
Peoples-Jones as mentioned has had a big camp after a solid rookie season in a limited role. The second year wideout had three catches for 26 yards, including a nice grab in which he used just one arm. Case Keenum found Peoples-Jones on a slant with the team’s first offensive play.
Rashard Higgins had one catch for 12 yards and was targeted twice, compared to five targets for Peoples-Jones. A lot of this could mean next to nothing with Keenum serving as the team’s starting quarterback in exhibition game one. Higgins is known to have a well built bond with Baker Mayfield on the field that seems to always benefit him. It was nice to see some of the hard work the Peoples-Jones has been putting in - translate to game play. At the end of the day the game meant nothing, but it showed some signs that the third wideout on the depth chart is up in the air. This isn’t news, more so further proving the fact. Both players will be an important part of this offense, though one may just separate from the other.
Demetric Felton looks like a wide receiver first and foremost
Felton spent his first three years at UCLA as a wide receiver and then was a part of the Bruins backfield. Since being drafted by the Browns the rookie has worked with both the running backs and the wide receivers. Felton put on a nice show Saturday night as a wide receiver and seemed comfortable doing so.
Four catches on six targets for the rookie in his first bit of NFL action. Felton had 44 yards including a 25 yard reception. A couple of tough grabs, as well as catches in traffic. Felton showed off some solid receiving skills that this team can deploy. The rookie did not have a single rush on a night that neither Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt played. Opportunity was there and the Browns seemed more comfortable with him operating out wide, an interesting sign.
The team is talented at receiver and running back both, so there will not be high expectations for Felton. A need for high production won’t be needed either. This puts the rookie in a good position as he can come in and make some plays for the team, perhaps a chance of pace as a small 5-foot-9 receiving threat.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a gamer, makes splash plays
Missing a couple weeks of training camp would have set back many players. Not the rookie out of Notre Dame though who looked like a polished defensive player maker at times against the Jaguars. Owusu-Koramoah put together multiple plays in different parts of the game. Whether it was special teams, getting after the passer or making a tackle in space - Owusu-Koramoah was on point.
The Notre Dame product blitzed up the middle and sacked Gardner Minshew as you could see the read coming all the way. Number 28 showed off speed and quickness as he was quickly in the backfield. The same speed was shown off with a near blocked punt. It won’t show up in the stat sheet, but perhaps it can later down the line. Putting in work on special teams will be an important part of Owusu-Koranoah’s role as a rookie and he looks ready to thrive in it.
Expectations are tempered by reality, but Owusu-Koramoah is going to make splash plays that get this team and fan base excited. When the rookie rounds the edges of his game it is going to be very exciting. The Jaguars game is just a glimpse of what Owusu-Koramoah is capable of. Owusu-Koramoah led the team in tackling with seven solo and eight total. Three tackles for a loss is nothing to look over, the rookie was impressive.