The Drive for Five – A Few Things that Need to Occur Against Washington
Well, the NFL season is finally here – sort of. The Browns stay at home to face the Redskins in the preseason opener. Last year, the Browns’ offense had their issues with this opponent – those performances would be repeated in November and December. What will be in store this year? In order to avoid a repeat, let’s review a few things that should happen.
1 – McCown Be the Leader
He signed as a veteran free agent, and is a vocal signal caller. Being the quarterback – Josh McCown must step up and perform the way he is expected to lead this offense. He will not be on the field a majority of the game; but if he can play error-free football (or close to that) and guide a touchdown or two then that’s a good start to the exhibition season.
2 – Show a Push Up the Middle
I keep hearing about Danny Shelton dominating in the middle of the defensive line (during training camp). Well it’s now time to replicate that against someone not wearing orange and brown. In addition to the rookie, the Browns need to confirm whether Phil Taylor, John Hughes, or Ishmaa’ily Kitchen can enter a contest and also be dominant versus the run.
3 – Tight End Pecking Order
Is Rob Housler the top guy for the “F” position (receiving spot)? Should we figure that Gary Barnidge is labeled as a “Y” by coach DeFilippo (primary blocker)? Thursday’s contest could be the start to sorting this out for the Browns’ offense. Obviously the coaching staff does not want to show their hand too much – however watching their guys catch and run is never a bad thing. I am intrigued to see whether E.J. Bibbs gets playing time late in the contest, and more importantly how he performs during that time.
4 – Which Kicker Gets a Leg Up?
I want to believe that Carey Spear or Travis Coons is the Cleveland Browns’ kicker for the 2015 season. In addition to that, they exceed expectations and are reliable all season long. Assuming that is the case, I strive to see perfection off the tee and between the hash marks. The coaching staff should have a good feel about these guys (seeing them every day in practice), but showing consistency is necessary.
5 – Return to Glory
Unlikely as it would appear, the Browns are going to give up points this season. Along those lines, they are also going to stop opposing offenses as well. All told, they must figure out the kick and punt returning spots for this team. Last year was a miserable one for these two positions; that cannot occur again in 2015. If Travis Benjamin is unable to return to his 2013 form, he will not make this final roster. Taylor Gabriel and Duke Johnson might then be the front-runners for the job. Securing the ball and gaining yardage is what I will be simply looking for in preseason game number one.