Grading The Positions From The Browns vs. Saints Game

Which positional units on the Cleveland Browns earned passing grades against the New Orleans Saints?

Honestly, how I could possibly hand out any failing grades after Cleveland's dominant 30-17 victory over the defending Super Bowl Champions? Let's take a look to see if any of the positions missed the mark this past Sunday.

OFFENSE

  • QB (PASS): In his second career start, Colt McCoy picked up a huge win over the Saints. His final stat line wasn't "impressive," but he didn't force any balls into coverage. He also had a great throw in the first quarter deep down the sideline to Joshua Cribbs. The defender was called for pass interference, setting up the only offensive touchdown.
  • RB (PASS): Peyton Hillis didn't get the ball much in the second and third quarters, but he stepped in and delivered in the "closer's" role during the fourth quarter. He even threw a nice pass to McCoy for a first down on a trick play! Mike Bell needs to find the holes better though; he makes me nervous.
  • WR (FAIL): Brian Robiskie finally led the team in receptions, but this unit didn't seem like they were able to thrive against the Saints without Mohamed Massaquoi in the lineup. Yamon Figurs (now released) botched an end around, and Carlton Mitchell didn't get any looks in his first career game.
  • TE (FAIL): It's not that the tight ends played bad or anything. In terms of the passing game, they just weren't really involved too much. I should probably create a "neutral" ranking for instances such as this one, eh?
  • OL (PASS): The Browns' offensive line kept McCoy off the ground and had superb blocking during the critical fourth quarter when Hillis was running pitch plays left and right. Despite being without Tony Pashos, the Browns worked with their right guard situation.

DEFENSE

  • DL (PASS): While he didn't show up on the stat sheet much, I thought it was a great game for Shaun Rogers. There were times where he was the only lineman with his hand on the ground, and he was getting a nice push into the backfield.
  • LB (PASS+): I added an extra "plus" here because you can't get any better than what this unit did against Drew Brees on Sunday. David Bowens, in a backup role, had two pick sixes at critical points of the game. Scott Fujita, a former Saint, was a man on a mission, registering a sack, recording an interception, and disrupting plays all game long.
  • DB (PASS): The secondary was definitely helped out by the Browns not bringing all out blitzes and being exposed to single coverage. The safety help seemed to pay off -- Abram Elam and T.J. Ward had five pass deflections between them, and each nearly had an interception. There was some "bend but don't break" played at times, but that's how our defense is built to operate.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • ST (PASS): The amazing throw/lateral by Joshua Cribbs to Eric Wright on a big punt return? The shocking 68-yard fake punt run by Reggie Hodges up the middle? The down-and-dirty recovery of a fumble by Nick Sorensen? Phil Dawson drilling a 48-yarder late in the game? This unit rocks.

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