JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — First ideas from an odd preseason opener for the Cleveland Browns, a largely meaningless recreation they won 23-14

• Friday evening was all about Deshaun Watson, as a lot of the offseason has been. The Browns started Watson and he performed three collection as a result of they wish to get him live-action work earlier than his suspension kicks in — nevertheless lengthy it finally ends up being. We know he’s going to be out for a minimum of six regular-season video games, however the NFL is on the lookout for an extended suspension on enchantment. There has been neither a closing ruling nor any indication that one is coming imminently, so the Browns go about this weird preseason with Watson on the entrance of each line. His begin Friday marked his first recreation motion in 586 days, so it was helpful in that the Browns have been lastly in a position to see him carry out at full velocity.

They didn’t see a lot. Watson was 1-of-5 passing. Receiver Anthony Schwartz had two dangerous drops. The Browns misplaced a fumble and misplaced their beginning heart, Nick Harris, on the second play to a probably severe knee harm.

• The actual story of the evening concerned a short (and extremely regulated) interview Watson did within the group resort in some unspecified time in the future earlier than the sport. It aired on the group’s official pregame TV present in Cleveland, and in it, Watson issued his first public apology for his actions. He stated he’ll search counseling throughout his time away from the group, and he stated he was grateful for the possibility to play even slightly bit along with his new group.

“I know I have a lot of work to put in, especially on the field,” Watson stated in an particularly cringeworthy second.

• Watson addressing his earlier lack of regret and vowing to be a greater particular person was definitely about serving to his case in a possible try to settle. The NFL isn’t publicly backing down from its want to see Watson suspended for a minimum of a full season, and so long as there’s no ruling, there’s a minimum of an opportunity the perimeters might choose one thing that may permit Watson to play in some unspecified time in the future in November or December.

• Watson performed. The subsequent quarterback in line, Jacoby Brissett, didn’t. Brissett sitting in a meaningless recreation is smart. What makes extra sense is Brissett beginning to get extra — if not all — of the follow reps with the No. 1 offense when the Browns get again to Cleveland. That has in all probability been the plan all alongside, although the Browns nonetheless have 4 extra follow weeks forward of the Sept. 11 season opener.

• The Browns’ first-team offense and protection have been down 13-0 early within the second quarter Friday. It was a predictably flat and distracted effort that solely modified when the second and third groups got here on. The Cleveland backups have been far superior to the Jaguars’ second and third teams, and Browns rookies Jerome Ford and Martin Emerson have been particularly spectacular. They mixed for 3 touchdowns, with Emerson’s approaching a bully-ball interception return. Emerson is massive and quick regardless of remaining a piece in progress, and people traits determine to assist that progress.

• Among the distinguished Browns who didn’t play have been Myles Garrett, Nick Chubb, Jadeveon Clowney, Denzel Ward, Jack Conklin, Joel Bitonio, Greg Newsome II, Kareem Hunt, John Johnson III and Anthony Walker Jr. Though a few of them may play within the preseason finale, it’s a protected wager that Garrett, Clowney, Ward and Chubb gained’t play within the preseason in any respect.

• On the offensive line, the Browns began (from left to proper) Jedrick Wills Jr., Michael Dunn, Harris, Wyatt Teller and James Hudson. Blake Hance received some snaps at left guard. Ethan Pocic, essentially the most skilled heart on the roster, changed Harris after the harm.

The Browns have some depth on the inside of the road, they usually’ll use it as they type issues out the subsequent few weeks. They don’t have a lot depth at sort out, they usually want Hudson to proceed to develop. Hudson moved over to left sort out with the second offense.

• That the Browns’ starters have been outperformed by the Jaguars’ starters means little within the massive image. The Browns began solely six gamers on all sides who’re really atop the depth chart. The early fumble and Schwartz’s drops put the protection in dangerous spots. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence had extra open receivers than Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods wished him to have, however the Browns belief that their protection can decide up the place it left off final season. The Cleveland receiving corps isn’t adequate proper now, and it gained’t be even when rookie David Bell can start making up for time misplaced along with his foot harm.

• No group’s offense is totally revved up on Aug. 12. They’re not even making an attempt to be!

The Jaguars have a brand new coach and have been the worst group within the league final season, in order that they have been intentional about getting Lawrence some good work with a lot of the starters.

The Browns wished higher with Watson on the market, clearly, however penalties and dropped passes and an total lack of timing didn’t assist. Watson has been taking all his follow snaps from Harris, and there was a snap challenge with Pocic. It was dangerous throughout, one other state of affairs introduced on by the uncertainty with Watson.

• The Jaguars introduced that 54,789 tickets have been distributed. The precise attendance was possibly half that, however it appeared like most of these followers booed Watson as he jogged into the huddle to start out the sport.

• There’s hardly ever going to be rather a lot to study from the primary preseason recreation, which is often simply an opportunity for younger gamers to carry out and get their ft beneath them.

• The Browns should trim the roster by 4 gamers by Tuesday, however barring additional harm or unusual circumstances, these will likely be principally simple choices.

• The Harris harm is important as a result of he’d logged hundreds of follow reps with the starters the final two seasons and tons of extra this summer time.

• Ford exhibiting off his skills is important as a result of the Browns clearly consider in him — and since they could ultimately should commerce a working again.

• Kicker Cade York is the true deal.

• The Browns head residence to organize for what has at all times been the most important on-field week of the preseason with the Philadelphia Eagles coming to city for joint follow classes on Aug. 18 and 19.

• With the Watson choice seemingly coming quickly, we might lastly get some readability. Maybe Brissett will quickly should compete to maintain his job if the Browns really feel the necessity to commerce for Jimmy Garoppolo. In a summer time of maybes, we’re nonetheless ready for one thing particular.

(Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck / USA Today)

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