Week three of Hard Knocks ended with a competitive second game of the preseason between the Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills. Despite a consistent performance from rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, offensive awareness, and an aggressive defense, the Browns lost this outing by three points. The culprit? Penalties. 

HardKnocks_BrownsEp03-300x300Penalty flags littered the gridiron throughout this preseason game. Some calls could be considered petty, while other rulings were signs that players needed to hone in on the basics. One of the most basic of basics is synergy on the field, and the Browns have lukewarm success in this realm. During one session of training camp, a fight had to be broken up between wide receiver Jarvis Landry and cornerback Terrance Mitchell (pictured). The former is normally level-headed and serves a nonofficial team captain. Yet, he is frustrated with the Mitchell for not taking training camp seriously, for the young cornerman engages in shenanigans in between plays. Being good at your position is not enough for Landry and the coaching staff:  Professionalism at all times is a civic virtue of the Browns.

Despite the serious nature of turning around a team that has had only one victory in the past two years, we get some comic relief from one Bob Wylie, the offensive line coach. Wylie makes a well-intentioned, but outlandish comparison of football physical training to the training of American World War I and World War II soldiers.  Don’t get the comparison? Neither did I, but it was hysterical without being offensive to veterans.

The highlight of this episode did not directly involve any of the current staff and players.  But rather a possible new edition to the club. All-star free agent Dez Bryant, introduced himself to the Cleveland Browns, with hopes to join the team’s starting lineup.

Theoretically, it is a no-brainer having Bryant and Landry as a double threat for the deep field.  But no matter the potential the Bryant can bring to the team; Coach Hue Jackson is not making any decisions until the fate of Josh Gordon is decided. If readers can recall, Jordan is the talented receiver who is taking time off to reflect on his troublesome past. One thing is certain:  The Browns cannot afford Gordon and Bryant. There can only be one.

A quote that burns in the memory from this episode is “This is a competition”.  This is said by Coach Jackson and serves as a double entendre’. First, the competition is against the opposing team.  Lastly, the competition is internal, for only those that can help the franchise accumulate wins over the course of this season will have roster spots.

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