The Browns' first preseason game of the 2023 campaign is officially in the books, and it provided a lot more excitement than expected. Cleveland looking doomed in the first half, but rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson came to the rescue over the final two quarters, leading a comeback victory.
Though most of the Browns' starters and primary backups didn't play against the Jets, there's still some major takeways from this exhibition. With that in mind, here are three burning questions we have after Cleveland's first preseason tilt.
1. Did Dorian-Thompson Robinson just end the Kellen Mond experiment?
The Browns' quarterback play is perhaps the biggest talking point after facing New York. With Deshaun Watson and Joshua Dobbs both sitting, it cleared the way for former third-round pick Kellen Mond to make an impression. Instead, it became the DTR show, which has us wondering if Mond's already good as gone.
Mond got the nod as the team's starter for the Hall of Fame Game, but he failed to make the most of the opportunity. He posted a mediocre 74.9 quarterback rating over one half of play while completing 13-of-19 passes for 92 yards and 1 touchdown. The play that will stick with most is the interception the ex-Viking threw early in the second quarter.
The pass was inexcusably bad, as Mond tossed it right to Jets linebacker Chaz Surrat, who looked more like the QB's intended receiver than he did an opponent. Meanwhile, the actual intended target (Cedric Tillman) was five yards away.
Mond's disappointing showing was all forgotten once Thompson-Robinson showed up. The rookie was on a mission to make his case a legit backup threat. DTR completed a healthy 8-of-11 passes for 82 yards and connected with Austin Watkins on the evenutal game-winning touchdown from 22 yards out in the fourth quarter.
Not only did the 2023 fifth-round pick have success through the air, but he made several plays on the ground as well. He racked up a nice 36 yards on just six attempts, which helped him lead Cleveland on two touchdown-scoring drives. Thompson-Robinson even got out and made a pivotal block for Demetric Felton on his 16-yard TD scamper!
Thompson-Robinson played with the kind of hunger you want to see out of a late-round pick. Mond, meanwhile, played like a quarterback who'd be lucky to make a practice squad. Thursday's game may help push DTR up the depth chart ahead of the second preseason matchup.