Body reception remains a question behind Amari Cooper: Browns-Bears

CLEVELAND – It’s over. The preseason has been closed in the past.

The regular season, which begins with a Sept. 11 opener at the Carolina Panthers, is just two weeks away for the Browns. When this game arrives, Saturday’s late 21-20 loss to the Chicago Bears will be an irrelevant footnote.

For now, with this result still in the very recent past, it’s just the most recent data point to analyse. How much insight into the Browns’ season does it really provide? That remains to be seen.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth digging through the results and seeing what can be gleaned from the final dress rehearsal for the season. That starts with the position that remains the biggest question mark for the Browns, even after a month of preseason practices and games.

Browns receivers still Amari Cooper and a bunch of questions

Amari Cooper, acquired in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys during the offseason, never played in three preseason games. After Saturday’s game, it was obvious why the Browns wanted to keep their clear-cut No. 1 receiver out of harm’s way.

Losing Cooper would only reveal what so many knew in the preseason, that the Browns didn’t have a designated second option behind him. David Bell, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and even Anthony Schwartz are all candidates to be that receiver.

Chicago Bears cornerback Kindle Wildor (22) breaks up a pass intended for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Javon Wims (16) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Saturday’s game only kept the question up front. Peoples-Jones had a four-yard reception against the Bears, his only reception of the preseason, and rookie Bell built on a solid second preseason game with a three-yard, 36-yard effort.

Schwartz, however, looked lost in two of the three exhibitions, with Saturday arguably the worst of them all. He had one catch for eight yards on six targets, with at least two drops in the mix.

A second-year pro, Schwartz remains a virtual lock to make the roster due to a huge lack of proven production. Behind Schwartz is another secondary in Demetric Felton Jr., who is as fast as he is a receiver, and a bunch of young guys like Mike Harley Jr., Javon Wims and JaMarcus Bradley.

“With all these guys, it’s a job,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “It goes back to April, what they did in practice, what they did in those preseason games and all the training camp practices. All the guys, they’ve worked really hard, and we’ll see in all these decisions how it all pans out. I just told the team you’d like to keep everyone. The reality of the NFL is that you keep 53 and some guys on the practice squad. We’re going to work on all those things, but I’m very, very grateful for all the guys’ effort.”

Wims had four catches for 41 yards against the Bears. Harley, who can also return kicks, was three for 38.

Cade York was pretty much as advertised

Yep, it’s another Cade York appreciation moment. Considering the preseason the fourth-round pick had and the number of starters who didn’t play a snap in any of the three games, one could almost call him the Browns’ preseason MVP.

This stretches things slightly. Saturday may have been the night York’s final month became legend.

It started with a 70-yard field goal to the Dawg Pound in warmups. A 70-yard field goal we must say went through the uprights.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Cade York (3) is congratulated by teammates after making a field goal during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Cade York (3) is congratulated by teammates after making a field goal during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio.

York just missed his first punt of the night, a 58-yarder to the same end. Unfazed, he returned for a 57-yard touchdown the other way, then capped his night with a 46-yarder to end the first half.

York, who was 5-for-7 on field goals in the preseason, wasn’t willing to limit his range.

“Whatever they put me out there with,” York said. “I missed a 58 today so obviously I didn’t hit the best ball then. But I think they tested me a bit in pre-season because if the game is on the line and we need something, then they can bring you back. a little bit, so we’ll see what happens in the future.”

It’s Jacoby Brissett’s team from here until December

Those who weren’t inside FirstEnergy Stadium Saturday to watch York take a blowout from Lakewood or Mentor probably wanted to get a look at the guy expected to be on the football team for the first 11 games of the season. Jacoby Brissett was out there to give those fans their first look in a Browns uniform for a game, and the results were mixed at best.

Brissett completed 13 of 23 passes for 109 yards with one interception on six carries with the first-team offense. He led the Browns to one field goal — it was a 57-yarder, but it was also a score — and another missed field goal in two 10 plays.

Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Deshaun Watson, center, Jacoby Brissett, left, and Josh Rosen, right, laugh before an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Deshaun Watson, center, Jacoby Brissett, left, and Josh Rosen, right, laugh before an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio.

For Brissett, who didn’t play in either of the first two games, it was at least a chance to shake off some of the game rust.

“I thought it went smoothly,” Brissett said. “Getting in and out of the huddle was one of the biggest things we wanted to do, get to the line of scrimmage, make the calls, see the defense and see the structure. of defence. I thought it went well. Obviously, I knew where I was going with the ball at times and saw it well. Like I said, it was a good step in the right direction. You have two more weeks.”

In those two weeks, Brissett will undoubtedly have a lot more work to do in practice with many of the players he didn’t get to work with on Saturday. That includes Cooper and running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, as well as offensive linemen Joel Bitonio and Jack Conklin.

This may provide a much clearer look at what Brissett can be during his time holding down the starting job.

D’Anthony Bell may have found a roster spot

Many on the roster felt solid on Saturday night. One of the last spots for grabs seemed to be in the secondary.

That spot might be D’Anthony Bell’s after Saturday’s performance.

Cleveland Browns cornerback Greg Newsome II (20) celebrates with Cleveland Browns safety D'Anthony Bell (37) after a fumble recovery during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, at Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland Browns cornerback Greg Newsome II (20) celebrates with Cleveland Browns safety D’Anthony Bell (37) after a fumble recovery during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, at Cleveland, Ohio.

Bell had a fumble, his second such play of the preseason. A rookie safety out of West Florida, Bell was also in one tackle.

“I never thought I made the team,” Bell said. “I come in here every day like I have to make the team and play. I sit next to JJ (John Johnson III) and I always ask him questions. I ask him “What did you see in it?” What did you see in this work?’ I feel like he’s very aware and I’m trying to work on that part of my game as well.”

In the first two preseason games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles, Bell combined for six tackles.

Contact Chris at ceasterling@thebeaconjournal.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ

This article originally appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal: Browns receivers remain biggest question after preseason finale

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