5 observations from the Cleveland Browns' preseason victory against the New York Giants

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Browns moved to 2-0 on the preseason on Monday night with a 10-6 victory over the New York Giants.

Below are five observations from the Browns' latest preseason outing.

Anthem attention

Perhaps the most significant play for the Browns on Monday night came even before kickoff. During the playing of the national anthem, multiple members of the Browns roster knelt in a circle with other teammates placing their hands on their kneeling teammates' shoulders.
 
The apparent protest comes a week to the day after Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson indicated that he hoped his players wouldn't become a part of the growing trend of such demonstrations. National anthem protests have increased in prominence over the past year as players have attempted to bring attention to what they see as racial injustice in America.
 
Jackson's comments were widely debated and criticized, with Hall of Fame tight end and FS1 host Shannan Sharpe calling the second-year Browns head coach a "clown." On the final day of training camp last week, Jackson sought to clarify his comments with a more than two-minute long prepared statement, saying, "I respect and support their right for peaceful protest; a right afforded to every American. We’ve always made it clear to our players that they should embrace the platform they have as NFL players to improve our community and use their platform in a positive, thoughtful and responsible manner."
 
Jackson's players appear to have taken him up on just that. But whether they did so defiantly or in conjunction with their head coach will be telling in regards to Jackson's relationship with the Browns' locker room moving forward.

Brock bottom?

Earlier this month, Jackson indicated that whichever of his quarterbacks started the team's third preseason game would have a good chance of also being Cleveland's starting signal-caller at the beginning of the regular season.

Following another unimpressive outing, Brock Osweiler hardly bolstered his case for being that quarterback.

Receiving his second of the preseason, the former Houston Texan didn't do much to impress, completing 6 of his 8 pass attempts for 25 yards. Perhaps the most telling play of the night for Osweiler was the interception he threw to Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to end the Browns' first offensive series of the game.

Granted, he only played two series' on Monday night, but on neither did Osweiler look like a quarterback capable of providing consistency for Cleveland's offense. And with the team's third preseason game -- AKA, "the dress rehearsal" -- just five days away, Jackson appears to have a difficult decision on his hands.

Kizer rolling

Only complicating Jackson's quarterback conundrum is the continued impressive play of rookie DeShone Kizer. Although he lacked the big plays that made his preseason debut so impressive, the second-round rookie out of Notre Dame once again showed a strong command of Cleveland's offense and an ability to help put points on the board.

Playing well into the third quarter against the Giants, Kizer completed 8 of his 13 pass attempts for 74 yards, while adding 35 yards and a touchdown on five carries. And although he did take 2 sacks for 22 yards -- a growing concern -- it'd be tough to argue he didn't outplay Osweiler for the second consecutive week.

It's no secret that Cleveland is hesitant about starting its 21-year-old rookie so early in his NFL career. But if this competition is about who the best quarterback is, Kizer just might be the Browns' man.

Schobert shows up

On the defensive side of the ball, Joe Schobert led the way on a first-team Cleveland defense that put together its second straight strong showing of the preseason. The second-year linebacker out of Wisconsin recorded a team-high 6 tackles, a sack and a pass defended against the Giants on Monday night.

With veteran Tank Carder leaving the game with a knee injury and not returning vs. New York, Schobert's potential emergence looms large. And considering the Browns surrendered just 99 yards and 3 points against what was largely New York's first-team offense in the first half, it appears as though the unit as a whole is trending in the right direction.

Garrett is good

Speaking of defensive standouts, one would be remised not to mention the play of Myles Garrett on Monday. Although he was only received credit for 1 tackle against the Giants, he made sure to make it count, sacking New York backup Geno Smith to close the first half.

He's only played in two preseason games, but thus far, the reigning No. 1 overall pick appears to be every bit as good as advertised -- and then some. And if the early returns are any indication, his sack on Monday night will be the first of many to come inside of FirstEnergy Stadium for the Texas A&M product. 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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