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.
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.
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.