On one hand, Saturday's game against the St. Louis Rams brought improved statistics for starting quarterback Brian Hoyer. But on the other hand, there were critical mistakes that led to points for the Rams.
While Hoyer went 10 of 16 for 84 yards with one touchdown against the Rams, his interception led to a six-yard touchdown reception for St. Louis receiver Brian Quick, and his fumble on the first play of the third quarter turned into a 20-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein.
"I think we did some good things, and I think there are some things we obviously need to improve on," Hoyer said. "Getting in the end zone, it was good to do that and finish a drive. We have got to play collectively better as a team.
"I made some mistakes, and other people made some mistakes. We need to get back to the basics and focus on what each individual person has to do on that particular play and take it one play at a time. We get the ball moving, and then, we have a setback. Coach (Mike Pettine) put it the right way. We all have to play better. Obviously, I have to too.
"You have always got to build on your positives and learn from your mistakes. To get it in there and get a good drive, and finish with a touchdown pass is definitely something we can build on."
First-year Browns coach Mike Pettine described Hoyer's performance against the Rams as having good moments, but "a few plays that he'd like to have back" because of "missed reads" and cohesion problems with wide receivers.
However, Pettine was quick to point out that his decision to start Hoyer for the regular-season opener at Pittsburgh on Sunday, Sept. 7 has not changed at all.
"Brian had his plays," Pettine said. "He knows what he needs to work on. We need to play better around him. I think that's important. I mentioned that sometimes, the quarterback gets held accountable. He's out there with 10 other guys. We need to be functioning as a unit, fully functional.
"You could have one guy break down, and that could ruin a play. Brian knows he needs to get better, needs more live-game reps and we're looking forward to (that). The one positive thing about a short week is that we know we didn't play well, but we can go out there Thursday and get the bad taste of our mouths."
In his previous start, a 24-23 loss at the Washington Redskins on Monday night, Hoyer completed just two of his six pass attempts and gained 16 yards through the air, but after Saturday's game against St. Louis, he feels the team needs to "come along together" over the next two weeks before kicking off the regular season in Pittsburgh.
"As an offense, you have to be on the same page, and there obviously were some plays out there where we weren't," Hoyer said. "It's going to come. That's what the preseason is for, to work out those kinks, and we will get better. I don't doubt that. We show some flashes here and there, and then, we pull ourselves back.
"Pittsburgh isn't that far away, so we need to hone in and fix those things. We have another short week this week with just two days of practice. I don't know how much we will play, but I expect to play. I think we need to. We have just got to keep building. I don't want people to hit the panic button. I think we do some really good things. We have just got to continue to do those and eliminate the mistakes."
Typically, the third preseason game serves as the "dress rehearsal" for the regular season, whereas the fourth contest is reserved for players on the bubble of getting waived or released to prove they could help the team should they make the 53-man roster out of training camp.
However, with the Browns implementing new schemes on both sides of the football, Pettine has stated his intentions to play the starters for a portion of the fourth preseason game, which Hoyer feels is necessary for the development of the team.
"For sure, I think we need it," Hoyer said. "This is our first time together in this offense, and with the competition that was going on, we need to go forward and be unified in one direction. I think it's going to come because we show flashes. We have just got to stop kicking ourselves and finish the drives. It was good to cap that one off in the end zone."