Pulling Back the Curtain on the 2014 Season – the Preseason
Granted, it’s not the most exciting stretch of games during the calendar year, but the NFL has released the preseason contests for each franchise. These do not nearly resemble the action of regular season (and postseason, but we are unfamiliar with those) contests – but they continue to be learning tools for younger athletes and ways to “get up to speed” for veterans. Let’s look further into the first four contests of the 2014 campaign for the Cleveland Browns:
Week 1 – Browns @ Lions – (August 7th – August 10th)
Ah, the Great Lakes Classic kicks things off. Nate Burleson may get some playing time against his most recent employer during the annual matchup of inter-conference rivals. Depending on whom the Browns draft in May, the rookie could see a fair amount of playing time in this contest. Fans should temper their enthusiasm during this game, as it is preseason. However, it’s still football and Browns fans will likely be amped up.
Week 2 – Browns @ Redskins – Monday August 18th
What is this, a nationally televised game (and not on Thursday night)? There’s no doubt that ESPN will hype this contest as Robert Griffin III against the Browns’ rookie quarterback – even if he does not get the nod as starter. Hopefully veterans can teach the youthful athletes about the process of preparing for night contests. In addition to this exhibition game, there’s a remote possibility the team will have more than one evening contest during the regular season. Being ready for them could be traced back to August 18th.
Week 3 – Rams @ Browns – (August 21st – August 24th)
For the second year in a row, Jeff Fisher’s squad heads east for a matchup with the Browns. Will Bernie Kosar belittle the receiving squad of the visitors, as he did last season? It’s unlikely, but fans will want to find an outlet for entertainment while this game occurs. This will be the first game in the newly renovated First Energy Stadium; how will the fan base feel about the new scoreboards and alterations to several sections? Time will definitely tell.
Week 4 – Bears @ Browns – Thursday August 28th
Another season, another preseason finale against the Chicago Bears. Brian Hoyer will not play the entire game – as the quarterback did in 2013. Instead, veterans (and undrafted rookies) fighting to make the final fifty-three-man roster will clutter the field. There will be little to take away from this contest, but one positive is that this is the final hurdle until the 2014 regular season commences.
Conclusion: A majority of fans will glance at the NFL preseason schedule and not think twice about it. However, securing a Monday Night game adds intrigue as to whether the Browns will get national exposure throughout the regular season (success a large dictator of that). As with all franchises go, three goals of the exhibition portion are to determine who ought to be on the active roster, get a firm grasp on the depth chart at each position group, and to remain as healthy as possible.