CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Joe Thomas Cameron Erving is not.
After Thursday night’s preseason opener, mentioning the 2 in the same sentence almost seems like an insult to the 10-time pro bowl left tackle.
Erving, who is competing with Shon Coleman for the starting right tackle job, filled in for Thomas Thursday night at left tackle with little success. To say he struggled would be a compliment.
But not in the eyes of head coach Hue Jackson after he reviewed the film following the 20-14 win over the Saints.
“I think there were a couple plays that Cam wishes he had back, but when I watched the tape, I didn’t see… I was expecting the same thing that you guys saw, but when I watched the tape, it wasn’t as bad as I think we all thought,” Jackson said. “Things are never as bad as you think they are, and they are never as good as you think they are.”
Erving, picked 19th overall in the 2015 draft, was called for a false start and holding penalty on consecutive snaps in the first quarter. He also appeared to miss a few blocks but Jackson disagreed with the notion that his performance was as awful as it looked.
“I thought he did some really good things,” Jackson said. “There were a couple times where he has to replace his hand and put his hand in a better spot, but he battled. Early in the game, there were some plays that he missed, but he did some good things last night, as well.”
In the interest of keeping faith in Jackson, we’ll chalk his comments up to simple coach speak and not wanting to rip one of his own players but the fact remains that no matter where they put Erving, his lack of mental focus and athleticism continues to put the offense – and quarterbacks – at risk.
As for Coleman, he appears to have the edge in the competition but Jackson didn’t exactly go out of his way to praise his performance at right tackle either.
“He battled,” Jackson said. “He did some things, but there are some things to improve on and some things to work through. We have to make sure that we have a little bit better anchor from time to time. That is as much football as he has played here last night. He has to continue to get better.
“I have watched players going from Preseason Game 1 to Preseason Game 2 make a huge jump because now, we are not just playing against ourselves; we are playing against an opponent. Hopefully, that will be the same for him.”
Standing Out – Defensive end Nate Orchard, a second-round pick in 2015, found himself suddenly third on the depth chart behind the likes of Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib and Cam Johnson after moving from linebacker but he caught Jackson’s attention last night.
“I thought Nate Orchard showed up,” Jackson said. “Obviously, he made two plays in a row – he had a sack and then another tackle for a loss. That was outstanding to watch him go in there and compete like he did.”
Orchard, who was credited with 2 tackles, a half-sack and pursued several other plays, wasn’t the only player to catch Jackson’s eye during his film review session.
“Joe Schobert played extremely well,” Jackson continued. “He handled the middle of our defense extremely well. There are so many guys over there that I can talk about from Jamie Collins to Danny Shelton.
“That is what we expect from those guys, but Nate Orchard and Joe Schobert to me really stood out last night because they are guys who have been fighting for opportunities, and they got them last night.”
Schobert, picked in the fourth round last year, had 2 tackles, a sack, tackle for loss, quarterback hit and pass defensed. He is competing with Tank Carder for a starting job as the MIKE linebacker.
Injury Report – Safety Ibraheim Campbell, who suffered a concussion on the second play of the game, was the only major injury the Browns have to deal with after the game.
“Obviously, he will be in the concussion protocol and go through that as we go. Other than that, there were no major injuries,” Jackson said.