The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)
Mayfield looks sharp in preseason finale
Felton continues to show versatility; DT Elliott makes key plays
Takeaways from the Browns-Falcons game on Aug. 29 in Atlanta:
• Baker Mayfield looks ready for the regular season after playing the first two series against the Falcons in the final preseason game. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 113 yards and finished his final drive by rolling to the left and firing a 22yard touchdown pass to KhaDarel Hodge.
Mayfield stayed in the pocket on the first drive and had two passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.
Coach Kevin Stefanski said “some starters” would play and some would be rested. Stefanski used four of his five starters on the offensive line, choosing to sit center JC Tretter and use backup Nick Harris along with starting tackles Jedrick Wills and Jack Conkin plus guards Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller. Running back Nick Chubb plus starting receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. were rested.
The offensive line was in sync on pass blocking and blocking for Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson on run plays.
• Mayfield’s second pass of the game was intended for rookie Anthony Schwartz. The pass was incomplete, but Falcons’ cornerback A.J. Terrell was called for pass interference on the play. Schwartz, bothered by a hamstring injury much of training camp, showed off his speed to get behind Terrell, which is why Terrell interfered.
Schwartz will be an infrequently used weapon in the regular season. But opponents will have to respect his speed every time he lines up.
• Hodge knows his role on the Browns. He is the fourth or fifth receiver behind Beckham, Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones and maybe Rashard Higgins. But Hodge won’t complain about lack of opportunities. When he makes a key play, he celebrates by playing his air guitar. He strummed it after his touchdown and Mayfield joined in to make it a duet.
• Demetric Felton does not look like a rookie. He was a wide receiver in the first preseason game in Jacksonville, a running back in the game with the Giants. He carried four times for 15 yards in the first half Aug. 29, returned a kick 37 yards and a punt 11 yards.
Felton is so versatile it’s like having a 55-man roster instead of the normal 53-man roster.
• The one negative play with the starters on
the field was a false start on left tackle Wills. The Browns play loud crowd noise over loudspeakers
during practice to get players accustomed to playing in hostile stadiums. Maybe Stefanski has
to crank up the volume even louder.
• Stefanski said he wanted to orchestrate a long field goal attempt by Chase McLaughlin. Case Keenum followed Mayfield at quarterback and spiked the ball at the Falcons’ 39 with four seconds left in the first half.
McLaughlin’s 57-yard attempts hit the crossbar and bounced back toward the field. Rookie offensive tackle James Hudson was flagged for a holding penalty in the drive.
• Hudson, a fourthround draft pick from the University of Cincinnati, isn’t ready to play in the NFL. But he won’t have to line up this season with Wills and Conklin entrenched.
• Defensive tackle Jordan Elliott did not play much as a rookie in 2020, but he has been one of the most improved players on the team in practice. He flashed against the Falcons with a tackle behind the line of scrimmage and a fumble recovery of a bobbled snap in the third quarter.