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Browns vs. Bears – Preseason Breakdown

Browns vs. Bears – Preseason Breakdown

Peeking into Preseason Game #4 – Browns vs. Bears 

Once first cuts are completed in the near future, the remaining Browns face their annual rival in the preseason finale. As per usual, this contest holds little weight – in terms of the top portion of the lineup. This matchup will more than likely determine who will or won’t be on the opening day roster. Alas, let’s delve into this game.

Offense: 

Quarterback – This will be a tremendous opportunity to see how rookie Cody Kessler has progressed since the preseason opener in Green Bay. Outside of a touchdown toss on his first play (during that game), not much has gone right for the signal caller. Facing not so stellar competition, there’s a chance that he could succeed on Thursday night. Going through progressions and making the right decision are two things I want to see.

Running Back – The Browns have not featured their running attack these past four weeks, and rightly so as they want to limit possibilities for injuries. However, Hue Jackson will likely want to get out of this game as soon as possible and running out the clock might be a game strategy. Raheem Mostert and Terrell Watson should be in line to get a majority of touches; I hope to see one stick out and make the club as the team’s third running back (Mostert appears to have the advantage). 

Wide Receiver – Rashard Higgins had a tough outing in Tampa Bay, but I am still encouraged at what I have seen from him thus far. The rookie should see a great deal of opportunities in this contest – how he responds to last outing ought to be intriguing. I don’t believe Taylor Gabriel makes the final squad, as the veteran’s lack of size makes it extremely difficult to move the ball down the field. In his absence, Jordan Payton and Ricardo Louis could nab that roster spot.

Tight End – I thought Connor Hamlett took a step ahead last contest, and he has a pretty good shot at making the opening day roster. A few guys I would like to see in this matchup are E.J. Bibbs and Seth DeValve; as the Browns can do multiple things with these athletes. Will they keep both, cut both, or place them on the practice squad? I hope the decision is very difficult after both play well against the Bears. 

Offensive Line – The reserve offensive lineman has been underwhelming this exhibition season – exemplified by the fact that the team has had no offense once the starters depart the contest. Spencer Drango and Shon Coleman are two rookies I am eager to watch play; their roles with this franchise can vary greatly, so I want to see how they perform. Will John Greco be the lone backup center, or will the Browns keep another guy around? That might be answered during Thursday’s matchup.

Defense: 

Defensive Line – Will the Browns ever be able to stop opposing teams from running the ball? That would be a welcomed sight, even if it occurred by reserve athletes. Nick Hayden and Jamie Meder are the two guys who I would like to see play – as each are fighting for playing time in the fall. Rookie Carl Nassib got the start on the edge last contest, but did not play as well as he did in the first two contests. Can he excel against reserve athletes? I need something positive for this position group, as it has been ugly up to this point. 

Linebacker – Speaking of which, the linebackers have not been exceptional during the preseason. Once again the rookies are the guys I would like to see (Dominique Alexander, Scooby Wright, and Joe Schobert) – as they can make their imprint with this defensive unit. I don’t anticipate on witnessing a tremendous amount of pass rushes by the team – even by Emmanuel Ogbah, so it will come down to neutralizing the play in the middle of the field (which has been evasive for the orange and brown). 

Secondary – I cannot believe the Browns could be worse in the secondary than they were in 2015, but it is shaping up to be that way so far. Undrafted Tracey Howard got his shot in Tampa and was torched by Mike Evans. Who will step up for this team; are Charles Gaines, Derrick Kindred, or Rahim Moore possibilities? I am pretty down on both the safeties and cornerbacks, but one solid outing mind change my attitude.

Conclusion: A fast game with good plays and no injuries are all I want to see for the orange and brown. The team desperately needs a win, as they are likely not going to witness a lot of them once the regular season begins. Nonetheless, I am very excited for the season to finally begin!

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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Browns vs. Bears – Preseason Game #4 Breakdown

Browns vs. Bears – Preseason Game #4 Breakdown

Analysis of the Final Preseason Game – Browns @ Bears

Well, the exhibition season is over for this year. This game was a tough one to watch – as is all fourth preseason contests. The big cuts are still a little bit away, but let’s remember what happened at Soldier Field.

Offense: 

Quarterback – At least initially, Thaddeus Lewis looked like a seasoned veteran NFL quarterback. He dropped back, scrambled, and even ran for a couple of nice gains. However, his inability to avoid a sack, as well as his lack of ball security might be his demise. There could be worse third string signal callers on this roster, but I don’t know who will fill that role. 

Running Back – Terrance West tried to show he belongs with the first team offense. The second year back toted the ball on multiple carries and looked halfway decent, albeit against guys who might not make the league. I’d give him the nod to stick around simply by his attitude on the field. Shaun Draughn toughed it out, despite having a cast on his hand. The rusher did not have a tremendous output, and his standing with the team remains up in the air. 

Wide Receiver – I really liked what Josh Lenz brought to this contest for the Browns. The wide out had two big catches in the first half and made the most of his opportunities. Darius Jennings may have cost himself a roster spot with his fumble in the second quarter. The undrafted rookie cannot afford those types of mistakes if he wants to be a member on the regular season roster. 

Tight End – And I thought this position group was ignored during last week’s contest. Rob Housler appeared to be the only tight end on the field in the first half and was not targeted by Lewis. It might be a coin toss between the veteran and rookie E.J. Bibbs as to whom will be the third tight end – my money’s on the youngster. 

Offensive Line – This was a chance for the reserve linemen to show they can step up and be viable replacements for starters this season. However, the elusive signal caller still had to run around and avoid rushers – as the guys upfront had troubles blocking their counterparts. I’m looking for a veteran or two linemen to be added in the coming days for this team.

Defense:

Defensive Line – Outside of a few nice stops by Billy Winn, the defensive line was not very active in this matchup. This is good news, as Winn is fighting for a job on this roster – however his play in this game might not be enough. I still anticipate to see Jamie Meder make this final squad.

Linebackers – This contest further reinforced the point that Tank Carder is nothing more than a special teamer. The longtime veteran could not set the edge against runs and was nowhere near David Fales on drop backs. Hayes Pullard was rather disappointing as well; it will be interesting to see what Ray Farmer decides to do with this unit.

Secondary – With so many guys not playing for the Browns’ secondary – I will have trouble analyzing this unit. Let’s face it, Mike Reilly and Joe Rankin are not going to be on this final roster. I wish them the best, but that is the truth. Ibraheim Campbell made some nice stops, I expect him to continue to progress towards a nice special teams / reserve role early on this year.

Special Teams: Travis Coons won the starting kicker job (apparently) and Andy Lee is the punter. Other than that, there’s not much to say about this unit. I hope they excel tremendously next week.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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Browns @ Bears – A Glimpse into Preseason Game #4

Browns @ Bears – A Glimpse into Preseason Game #4

Looking Ahead to Browns @ Bears – Preseason Game #4 

Well, the last preseason game is finally upon us. A rather boring contest, but it is key for many guys fighting for their jobs. The analysis will be much more difficult as most of the key starters will either be on the sidelines or in for a few series. Nonetheless, let’s delve into this matchup. 

Offense: 

Quarterback – It’s going to be the Thaddeus Lewis show on Thursday night. The third-year pro is not expected to make this roster but with McCown resting and Johnny Manziel sitting out, the team has to turn to their third string signal caller. If he does not make this final roster – hopefully he can play well enough to get a call from another NFL club. I liked his play last week, so that’s a good start.

Running Backs – All I want from this unit in this matchup is to avoid injuries. I would anticipate that West, Crowell, and possibly Johnson see a little bit of time on the field – but Timothy Flanders and Jalen Parmalee will likely see some touches against the Bears. Shaun Draughn would normally get an opportunity – but his hand injury will prevent him from carrying the football. 

Wide Receivers – Will Terrelle Pryor make the Cleveland Browns regular season roster? This game might be the answer to this question, as it will be the only exhibition contest for the veteran. I want to see him on this squad, but if he cannot prove himself – I understand him not making the cut. I want to see what rookie Vincent Mayle can do; he has had drop issues, but his size and speed give him an opportunity to secure his spot with the club.

Tight Ends – Seeing E.J. Bibbs in extended time is the primary thing I look forward to from the team’s offense in this matchup. The undrafted rookie has been shakin’ and bakin’ defenders after securing grabs this preseason. I expect to see him make the final squad, but he first must prove that he belongs.

Offensive Line – Outside of Cameron Erving, who appears to be reliable reserve offensive linemen? One would have thought that Michael Bowie was one of those guys, but he has been extremely disappointing thus far. Hopefully a guy or two can step up and show that they can come in relief this regular season (in a short stint, unlike last year).

Defense:

Defensive Line – Billy Winn, Armonty Bryant, and Xavier Coops are just a few guys who will be evaluated heavily in this contest. The Browns are deep at this position group, and some difficult decisions will have to be made in the coming days. I want to see these athletes not only set the edge, but get a great push on the edge – forcing Jimmy Clausen to make a quick decision behind center. 

Linebackers – Who has the leg up in the battle between Tank Carder and Hayes Pullard? Thursday’s matchup might be a telling affair, as both are inside linebackers and special teamers. Hopefully one guy can make it easy for Ray Farmer and his final cuts. I want to see dominance from Nate Orchard when facing backup offensive linemen. The rookie is expected to excel, as he face better competition from guys in practice (on a daily basis).

Secondary – Here’s where it gets really interesting; as there are many jobs up for grabs. Guys like Justin Gilbert and Robert Nelson have either been hurt or ineffective this year. Will they make an impact in this contest, or play their way off the roster? I want to see K’Waun Williams get some playing time, as he is expected to see the field once the regular season gets underway (and has missed the past few contests). Ibraheim Campbell will be the primary strong safety – hopefully he can continue to grow in his rookie season. 

Special Teams: Pretty much the only thing that is left for this group is the final decision for the kicking duties. Honestly, I have no horse in this race – but as long as either Carey Spear or Travis Coons are accurate and consistent then I will be content.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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