The Cleveland Browns moved to 2-0 this preseason with a 21-18 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.
The Browns pulled off the victory without the majority of their stars, with Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward and Jarvis Landry all sitting out the contest.
The Browns took the early lead, with Jaelen Strong hauling in a four-yard pass at the end of the first quarter wide open in the corner of the end zone.
D’Ernest Johnson and Derrick Willies also caught touchdown strikes.
It wasn’t the prettiest games, especially in the second half. But there was still plenty to takeaway from the game as the Browns start honing in on roster cuts and narrowing down the talent. Here are some of the main points of interest.
Garrett Gilbert is Making a Solid Case to be Baker Mayfield’s Backup
The Browns wanted to see what Garrett Gilbert could do, and the journeyman QB made a case for himself against the Colts for a depth chart promotion.
Gilbert started the game and in one half of action was 13-of-19 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in a half of action. Gilbert is currently in a competition with veteran Drew Stanton for the backup job to Baker Mayfield.
Garrett came over from the now defunct AAF. Previous to that, he was sixth-round pick of the St. Louis Rams back in 2014 and bounced around the league.
One of the few success stories to emerge from the league, Gilbert was 157-of-259 for 2,152 yards with 13 touchdowns with the Orlando Apollos. Interestingly enough, Gilbert and Mayfield went to the same high school — Lake Travis in Texas.
Stanton has more than a decade of experience in the NFL, making the first start of his career for the Detroit Lions back in 2008 during their 0-16 campaign. Stanton has a 20-24 TD-INT ratio over his career, the highlight of his time in the NFL being a GIF-able celebration during a game he wasn’t in. Stanton did not take a snap against the Colts.
D’Ernest Johnson Might be the Answer for the Browns at Running Back
With Kareem Hunt being out for the first half of the season serving a suspension, the backup role to Nick Chubb is a major question for the Browns.
Dontrell Hilliard is currently holding that spot on the depth chart, but missed the game nursing a hamstring injury. With a heavier than expected workload, D’Ernest Johnson made an impact against the Colts.
Johnson had 10 carries for 53 yards for a nice 5.3 average, looking explosive on his runs. He also caught a touchdown in the first half to put the Browns up 14-7. He had three grabs in all for 36 yards and looked solid in protection.
The backup spot to Chubb for the first half of the season became an issue after the Browns decided to deal Duke Johnson Jr. to the Houston Texans for a conditional fourth round pick.
The ‘Scottish Hammer’ Jamie Gillan Has an Appropriate Nickname
Jamie Gillan stole the show early when he punted a 74-yard monster that rolled inside of the Colts 20-yard line.
Gillian is a rookie and is competing with veteran Britton Colquitt for the starting gig. Colquitt has been booting the ball for the Browns since 2016.
Colquitt was born in England and played rugby growing up in Scotland before moving to the United States in his teen years. He earned a scholarship to Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which he earned through a Facebook post.
“Britton is going to be the steady Eddie. He is going to give you the 48 yards, 4.8 hang time, outside the numbers,” special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. “Jamie is going to wow you. Jamie is the guy that is going to bomb the ball. Unfortunately, the next time he is up there he does not hit one quite as well. He needs to find consistency.”
Austin Corbett is Officially on the Bubble
The Browns selected Austin Corbett in the second round in 2018, but he has not lived up to the billing of his draft position. And things only got worse against the Colts.
Corbett was penciled to slide into the right guard spot this season, but has been firmly beat out by Eric Kush so far, being demoted to second team. He saw some reps at center against the Colts, but struggled snapping the ball, was blown up repeatedly and was called for holding late.
At this point, Corbett is on the bubble unless he can turn things around in a hurry.
Other Takeaways: From Mack Wilson to Kareem Hunt
- Mack Wilson has continued his impact known. The rookie linebacker out of Alabama was everywhere and just missed out on a big sack of Jacoby Brissett. He had a pair of interceptions in the Browns first preseason game, returning one for a touchdown.
- Cleveland was undisciplined in the contest, racking up almost 100 yards in penalties.
- The Browns need kicking help. Greg Joseph pushed a 53-yard kick wide and Austin Seibert — a fifth-round pick by Cleveland in this year’s draft — missed from 52.. The game was played indoors.
- Rookie KR/WR Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi was banged up with a rub injury, making his case for a roster spot more of an uphill battle.
- Recently signed TE Rico Gathers had his first two catches with the Browns. The former Baylor basketball player has been lauded for his
- Odell Beckham Jr. can pull off a mean drum solo.