Preseason Game #1 – Browns @ Giants
The time is finally here; the Cleveland Browns are hitting the field and are beginning their exhibition season. What’s done is done from 2017 and the roster has changed dramatically (thanks to John Dorsey). The end result is a much improved team who should win games in 2018. Looking forward to Thursday evening’s contest, what should Browns’ fans look forward to seeing in New Jersey?
Wolfpack and Offensive Line Depth
A few days ago, the Browns shifted former University of Nevada lineman Joel Bitonio from left guard to left tackle. Meanwhile, his college teammate Austin Corbett fills in the vacated starting position across the line. Will this be an improvement over an offensive line featuring Shon Coleman at left tackle? At this point, the coaches believe so. I want to see the five starters (outside of Kevin Zeitler who will be sidelined for a few weeks) play solidly while protecting Tyrod Taylor. Meanwhile, having a guy or two stand out in the second team would be welcomed.
Stepping Up without Gordon
The wide receiver room took a shot with the departure of Josh Gordon (and his return time is still not know); in his absence Corey Coleman has elevated with Jarvis Landry in the first team. This is a huge season for the veteran, who can secure his place with this team with a great year. Rashard Higgins, Jeff Janis, and Antonio Callaway are a trio of wideouts who can carve out roles with this franchise. I would love to see Callaway excel and become that third starer, but perhaps Higgins will come through in his third season (the way many are hoping Coleman will).
The starting spot opposite Denzel Ward remains up for grabs. Many felt T.J. Carrie would have been this guy, however he is not playing exceptionally well this training camp. The opportunity is there for Terrance Mitchell – who was a part-time starter last year in Kansas City. I would like to see him defend Sterling Shepard for the Giants. E.J. Gaines is another guy who can have a shot to start – how will he perform?
Conclusion: Football is back! And while it is very exciting, there is a ton to sort out for the Cleveland Browns. Hopefully the starters hold their own in limited time. Following that, one would expect to see multiple reserves pushing for starting jobs (including Baker Mayfield). Obviously a win is not important – just look at last season; but avoiding sloppy play would be a good start to the exhibition season.