BEREA - It's a statement that's been repeated almost as many times as the word "hut" in football.
Following a bad performance, either a coach or a player usually says, "It's never as bad as you think it is, and it's never as good as you think it is."
That's a euphemistic way of saying it was ugly.
Browns five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas uttered those words when asked how the game film of the offensive showing in a 27-10 preseason loss to the Philadelphia Eagles looked upon further review. To the naked eye the Browns looked bad in just about every phase Friday, with the offensive line allowing five sacks and quarterback Brandon Weeden fumbling two times.
"There were mistakes out there, and that's what you'd expect in a preseason game," Thomas said after Sunday's practice. "Obviously you don't want them, but there are plenty of good things to correct and plenty of good things we saw on film."
The offensive line struggled to protect the quarterbacks against the wide-nine looks of the Detroit Lions and Eagles. The wide nine presents a four-man front with the ends aligned wide of the tight end on one side and a tackle on the open side (no tight end). The idea is to use speedy defenders to get inside leverage on pass blockers.
The bad news for the Browns is that they have to face the Eagles again at home in the season opener Sept. 9.
"When we play them again in a couple of weeks, we're going to have the benefit of game-planning and tailoring our offense to how we want to attack their defense," Thomas said. "I expect a much better performance."
Weeden's fumbling will be a concern entering the season. The fumbles have come in about five quarters of play.
Weeden wasn't sacked often at Oklahoma State, where many of his passes were off short drops. He doesn't plan any drastic changes in his practice habits to cure the problem.
"I'm not going to carry the football around at night," he said. "If you start thinking about all that other stuff, you get into trouble. When you're back there, keep harping on gripping it tight.
"I know it seems like a big deal because three of them are on the ground. Because it's happened in these three games, it's not something I'm going to lose a lot of sleep over. I'm going to take it seriously, and I'm definitely going to work on it."
It's difficult simulating games in a practice setting. The quarterbacks wear red jerseys, which is an off-limits sign to defenders.
"It is tough," Weeden said. "You have to simulate it as best as you can. You can't really get any game reps because I have this (red jersey) on."
Weeden will be targeted more than mobile quarterbacks because of his dropback style. The most that coach Pat Shurmur can do is to continue stressing the importance of securing the ball.
"Ball security is primary for anybody who touches the ball, especially the quarterback, who touches it every play," Shurmur said. "He knows that we drill that. A great deal of fumbles in this league involves the quarterback in the pocket. It's important for him to maneuver in the pocket where he doesn't fumble. If he's getting tackled or sacked he needs to wrap the ball up."
There isn't much time remaining to plug up the problems that surfaced against the Eagles.