The Cleveland Browns' Pat Shurmur is like many head coaches. He can make the Hindenburg sound like a minor accident. So when he said that nothing good could be taken out of the Browns' performance in the first half of Friday's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, it's worth taking notice.
Of course, that was when Shurmur's first team played in a 27-10 loss to the Eagles. Granted, the Browns showed little against the Eagles, who return to Cleveland in two weeks for the regular-season opener. But there's quite a difference between playing vanilla and making mistakes.
The first half featured three fumbles, including two by rookie QB Brandon Weeden (9 of 20 for 117 yards), four sacks and four penalties. The pass blocking collapsed, only CB Joe Haden shined in the secondary, which was beaten repeatedly by backup receivers. The offense played like the end zone was diseased.
It was all eerily similar to 2011.
Gordon bounces back: One of the few encouraging performances by the first-team offense was by rookie WR Josh Gordon. He snagged a 28-yard pass from Weeden down the left sideline on the first play from scrimmage and finished with three catches for 50 yards.
Gordon had struggled to mesh with Weeden and looked lost at times midway through training camp. But he has emerged as the team's most effective receiver the past week and certainly was against the Eagles. His development is as important as any on the offense other than Weeden.
Jackson outplays Hardesty: It's difficult to tell if there's really a battle for the backup RB spot behind Trent Richardson. But if there wasn't before, there should be now.
Montario Hardesty has started all three preseason games with Richardson recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. But lost his second fumble Friday and had just 12 yards on eight carries against the Eagles. Jackson showed more burst and conviction on his seven carries for 35 yards.
CB Brown has tough night: Veteran CB Sheldon Brown struggled against speed receivers last year. If the loss to the Eagles was any indication, that was a trend rather than a slump.
Brown was beaten three times by Eagles' backups, including twice by Demaris Johnson, who is listed as a fourth-string wideout.
Youth is being served on defense: John Hughes and Billy Winn have been starting at defensive tackle. James-Michael Johnson started Friday night at linebacker. Eric Hagg is firmly established as the starting free safety. But Brown's job appears to be safe despite the emergence of such young and quicker talent as Trevin Wade and Buster Skrine.
For more Browns news and notes follow Martin Gitlin on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLCLE.