5 takeaways from the Cleveland Browns' 20-14 preseason win vs. the New Orelans Saints

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Browns beat the New Orleans Saints 20-14 in their first game of the preseason on Thursday night. Below are five takeaways from the Browns' preseason victory at FirstEnergy Stadium:

Kizer rising

After two subpar performances from Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler, rookie DeShone Kizer dazzled in his preseason debut.

First, the second-round selection out of Notre Dame hooked up with Richard Mullaney for a 52-yard pass to set up a 1-yard Terrence Magee touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Then, facing a 4th-and-2 just inside the two-minute warning, Kizer hit Jordan Payton in stride for a 45 throw on what would be the game-winning touchdown.

Playing the entirety of the second half, Kizer completed 11 of his 18 pass attempts for 184 yards and 1 touchdown. Granted, his preseason debut came against backups on the Saints defense, but it'd tough to argue he didn't gain ground on both Osweiler and Kessler in Cleveland's quarterback competition.

First-round hits

Another bright spot for the Browns: first-round picks Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers each saw extended playing time in the first half -- and looked good while doing so.

Getting the start at defensive end, Garrett recorded just one tackle -- for a loss -- but applied plenty of pressure to the quarterback while showcasing the skill set that led Cleveland to select him with the No. 1 overall pick in April.

Peppers, meanwhile, subbed in at strong safety with the first-team defense after Ibraheim Campbell suffered a concussion on the second play of the game. Peppers' most promising plays, however, came as a kick returner (27 yards) and punt returner (13 yards) where he showed the kind of burst that could make him a dangerous weapon for the Browns moving forward.

Angry Orchard

Although he began the week buried on the Browns depth chart, third-year defensive end Nate Orchard looked impressive in extended action, registering two tackles, 0.5 a sack and another QB hit.

If Orchard is going to make Cleveland's final roster, the former second-round pick is going to need to continue to show that he can consistently get to the quarterback, as he did on Thursday.

Flags on the fly

The Browns are a young and largely inexperienced team -- and it showed on Thursday. Cleveland committed 12 penalties against the Saints in their preseason opener, which ultimately cost the Browns 72 yards.

Cleveland's roster has talent -- but it may not matter if it can't get out of its own way. Look for head coach Hue Jackson to place a heavier emphasis on the team avoiding such errors throughout the remainder of the offseason.

Winning effort

It's only a preseason game, but the end result is not without meaning. After all, Jackson said earlier this week that he was placing a heavy emphasis on whether or not his team won or lost its preseason games.

With that in mind, one could call Thursday night's game a success for Cleveland -- especially given the promising play of its young players. Obviously, a victory in the preseason means very little in the long run, but Jackson set out for a goal this preseason -- and in their very first game, the Browns accomplished it.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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