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JIMMY'S TAKE: Jim Donovan says Jacoby Brissett looked 'rough' in Cleveland Browns' final preseason game

'Maybe Kevin Stefanski should've re-thought the "plan" that he talked about, the strategy of what they were going to do to get Brissett ready.'

CLEVELAND — The preseason has come to an end. The Browns conclude the exhibition schedule at one win, two losses, both by the skinniest margin of one point.

Wipe everything off, and the thing that everybody wanted to see on Saturday night was the unveiling of the starting quarterback, Jacoby Brissett. Remember, he hadn't played in the first two games.

Going out there just before he opens the season in Carolina, it was rough. Rough for him, rough for the Browns' offense.

It wasn't all on Brissett. There were dropped passes, there were mistakes, there were missed blocks, but Brissett certainly looked like a quarterback that hadn't played in a game for a long period of time.

Now, I realize a lot of good things happen in joint practices against the Philadelphia Eagles, and a lot of good work — a body of work — goes into play all during the spring and the training camp days out in Berea. But games are games, and on Sept. 11 is a game, and it's for real, and maybe Kevin Stefanski should've re-thought the "plan" that he talked about, the strategy of what they were going to do to get Brissett ready.

You have to thank that, maybe, he needed a little bit, maybe a lot more playing time in these three preseason games, which are now gone as we get set for Carolina and the opening game. He'll go into that game off a real rough and bumpy game here in Cleveland against the Chicago Bears.

I mean, take the Bears, for example. Justin Fields played in every one of their three preseason games. He was not great against Kansas City, just a little bit better against Seattle, but very good in this game against the Browns, throwing three touchdown passes.

For Brisset, this was his first time out, and I think he needed a little bit more cooking before we head to take on Baker Mayfield and the Panthers.

The Browns' defense struggled, especially in the secondary, which seemed to be a strength of the team. Those three touchdown passes were wide-open, caused by snaps in coverage and broken plays in the back of that secondary. They're going to have to tighten that up.

But remember who wasn't here on Saturday night. The Browns are going to be a run-first, second, and maybe third offensive team. No Nick Chubb, no Kareem Hunt. They'll be in there against Carolina.

Also, no Joel Bitonio at left guard, Jack Conklin at right tackle. No Myles Garrett, no Jadeveon Clowney. The cornerbacks — Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome — none of them there.

I'm not using those as excuses, but it is reality. They will not be used as excuses in Carolina. They're all expected to be in there, and the Browns are going to have to play much better than they did in this final preseason game.

And oh yeah, Baker Mayfield threw for two touchdown passes in the Panthers' wrap-up game last night against the Buffalo Bills. He'll come in red-hot coming into that matchup, and he'll be red-hot anyway trying to beat his old team.

So, the simple answer is, there's a lot of work to do by the time the Browns get to Charlotte and open up the regular season. First things first: The roster needs to be trimmed down to 53, and please, let's get some more help at wide receiver. Then, we'll see as the Browns get ready for that opening game, which will have on it the most pressure that I can remember a Browns opening game since they have come back in 1999.

Don't panic. Wait to do that on Sept. 11 if things don't turn around.


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