Five Things for the Browns in the Preseason Finale – @ Chicago
It’s never an exciting game, but it’s still always on the schedule – the fourth and final preseason game in the NFL. While a fair amount of guys playing in this contest (especially in the second half), might not be on the final roster heading to the regular season – there are a few exceptions. Obviously Isaiah Crowell’s outburst last season comes to mind. Personally, I wouldn’t be upset if that were to occur again for the orange and brown on Thursday night. Besides that, below are a handful of things I would like to witness at Soldier Field.
#1 – Stay Healthy
This is the final opportunity for guys to impress the coaching staff and make the team in the regular season. However, this is professional football – and injuries occur (and have been extremely high in number this year). The Browns must make sure to not put their guys in situations where something bad can go wrong, at least physically. This is an obvious point, but it is still difficult to accomplish. I want to see the team take the approach of the Bills game – ball-controlled offense and time consuming drives (reducing the number of overall plays and chances for injury).
#2 – Finalize the Wide Receiver Group
Travis Benjamin has all but sealed up his roster spot with this team. That leaves anywhere from two to four guys fighting for their jobs in Chicago. Vincent Mayle, Terrelle Pryor, Darius Jennings, and Deshawn Wynn are a couple of guys who can go anywhere from an active roster spot, to a practice squad member, and looking for work. In an ideal NFL wide receiver, reliability should be valued above height and forty-yard dash times. Therefore, the guy who can catch (and block) the best should earn the gig over potential.
#3 – Just Two Quarterbacks?
The injury to Connor Shaw might have made the decision for Ray Farmer an easy one of whether to keep two or three quarterbacks. It might take a miracle for Thaddeus Lewis to make the regular season roster; but hopefully the team can sign him in an emergency situation (if need be). Should Pryor make the team, he could be the third string signal caller – provided injuries occur. But let’s be honest, I just want to see solid-to-great play from Josh McCown with a sprinkle of Johnny Manziel in games where the Browns are comfortably ahead.
#4 – Who Makes it for the Defensive Line?
It is still a very crowded room for the Cleveland Browns’ defensive line. The young guys like Dylan Wynn and Jamie Meder have been pushing veterans like Billy Winn, John Hughes, and Phil Taylor for playing time. I would not be surprised to see either a trade or a release of a guy who many believed would make this final roster. It will be interesting to see how the unit shakes out, especially if Wynn and Meder play exceptionally in this contest.
#5 – A Kicker is Needed
Will it be Travis Coons, Carey Spear, or someone else as the starting kicker for the Cleveland Browns? I think either of the inexperienced guys can do an admirable job in the regular season – and I believe it may be Coons. Hopefully the kicker continues to look great in this contest and has all the confidence that his play can translate over the coming months.