The good, the bad, and the ugly: Takeaways from the Browns' loss to the Falcons

(Source: WOIO)
(Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Two preseason games down, two preseason games to go -- here are a few thoughts after Thursday's loss to the Falcons.

The Good

Or maybe I should call it the ‘very good,' because the theme already is RG to TP, ASAP. Robert Griffin III and Terrelle Pryor hooked up deep for the second straight week, with Pryor finding the end zone.

And Gary Barnidge? He's picking up where he left off last season, pulling in a finger-tip TD catch in the second quarter.

"I don't think we're well-oiled yet, but I see potential of us being what I think we can be," head coach Hue Jackson said following the 23-14 loss to the Falcons. "I thought (RG3) played pretty well, thought he did a good job of taking care of the ball and distributing the ball to some of our play makers."

And Griffin’s No. 1 play maker is a former Ohio State quarterback who Jackson turned into a receiver in Cincinnati two years ago. Pryor blew by Desmond Trufant, one of the top corners in the league, like he was standing still.

"That means he better back up because he'll run past you," Jackson said. "He's made some huge plays, but he's got to continue to get better. He does. There were a couple times from a legal formation standpoint it could've been called but it wasn't. We have to make sure we shore all that up. We need to be much better than we were tonight."

Griffin, for one, isn't surprised by Pryor's successful transition to wide receiver.

"TP has been making plays all camp and really all off season," Griffin said. "It's been an amazing transition for him. I think everybody is excited for TP. Like I said, I'm a quarterback, he was a quarterback and we're the same high school graduating class so it's just been really cool to see the transformation. You can see the vibe on the sideline whenever TP makes a play. Everybody is excited for him because they know how hard of a transition it's been for him."

The Bad

The first-team defense -- specifically against the run. It took Falcons running back Devonta Freeman only five minutes to break free for a 19-yard dash to the end zone. Freeman only carried the ball four times, but he averaged more than ten yards per carry. This comes after the Packers ran over and around the Browns in the preseason opener a week ago.

"First and foremost, everybody has to just do their job," Jackson said. "What happens when you start spreading a leak, everybody tries to cover up for another guy because I'm going to cover up for this guy, and I think we need to do that better, but more so than that I think we have got to tackle better. There were a lot of missed tackles tonight. I can't wait to watch the tape to see exactly how many missed tackles we had, but we have to be a better tackling football team. This is a work in progress. We get it, and we have to do it better than what we're doing."

The Ugly

Well, RG’s slides weren’t that ugly, but let’s just say he could use a week in Goodyear with the Tribe next February. And, at least he's getting down. I asked Hue if he has any apprehension about Griffin taking off.

“No," Jackson told me. “Both of them were called runs. He was smart. He is able to take care of his team. What I mean by that is get on the ground. You have to be out there playing, not standing next to me. I think he’s gotten that message and he’s handled that right. There are certain times we’ll do certain things with him, but we’re going to let him play quarterback. I think this guy is growing, I think we see it and I think he’ll continue to get better.”

And Griffin, who suffered multiple leg injuries that derailed him as quarterback of the Redskins, says he’s learned his lesson, which is why he’s now sliding to avoid contact.

"Yeah, fully committed to it. It's something that Coach has emphasized to me. It's something I've learned over my career just with situations that I've been in. I can't thank everybody who has helped me get to that point where it's hammered in. I've learned my lesson from mistakes in the past."

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