The Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins will square off tonight and both are going to have similar game plans: Get the Offense Moving, quick. That has seemed to be the tale of the preseason for both of these first year coaches and their new offensive coordinators. The Browns have had a tough time this offseason with their offensive production so far, and it is starting to make some worry if it will continue into the regular season.
The Cleveland Browns didn’t have a great offseason in the regards to offense. They did pick up some rookies and veterans, but failed to get a legitimate playmaker (Manziel is still on the fence). Then with the news that Josh Gordon failed a drug test and may be out for the entire season with a suspension (still pending), the Browns seemed to be digging themselves deeper into the hole.
With a similar offensive team to last year, Kyle Shanahan has to prove that he has a better scheme than Norv Turner did last year. So far Cleveland has failed to do that this offseason, even in practice. In their first preseason game, the Browns only were able to get 4 field goals and lost by one point. The first string offense didn’t have a great start, with Hoyer going 6-14 for 93 yards and Terrence West getting 25 yards on 6 carries. Some thought that Mike Pettine would give Johnny Manziel the start but named Brian Hoyer the starter for tonight’s game.
The key tonight will be Jordan Cameron starting at tight end. The Browns were without the Pro Bowl Tight End last week after he injured his shoulder. The Browns were able to succeed with Marquise Gray last weekend, and Hoyer should target Cameron tonight with the lack of plays being made by the wide outs. The offense needs to come out strong tonight, and Johnny needs to keep it going with the second string to stay in the QB competition.
The players that need to have a good game tonight to have a shot to make the final 53-man roster are the wide receivers. Last weeks winner was Marquise Gray(TE) with yards, and the wide outs need to make more of their targets. Look for Travis Benjamin and Nate Burleson to make an impact in their first preseason games tonight. Both were out last weekend with injuries. The ones that have the most to prove are the undrafted free agents. Last weekend Taylor Gabriel had a great game with 7 targets. The other two rookies only had 4 targets for 0 receptions. With Burleson, Benjamin, and Jordan Cameron returning tonight, roles of players like Snead, Krause, Armstrong, and Gabriel will start to diminish.
The shining spot so far in this offense is rookie Joel Bitonio. Bitonio is playing like a veteran on the line and should be a lock to take the left guard position. Hopefully this line will start to play as an elite line and give the wide outs a few more seconds to get open. This should be helped out with a few of the skill players returning in tonight’s matchup. The prediction: Browns -34 Redskins- 20.