The Cleveland Browns and the Chicago Bears square off in both of their last Pre-Season games before kicking off the Regular Season next week. While few of the Browns starters will play past the first series and likely none past the 1st quarter there are still things to watch for in tonight’s Browns VS. Bears match-up:
The Bears torched the Browns last season, especially in the passing game. While the Bears will likely sit Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, they still will run the same scheme. Will Mike Pettine’s defense have a better plan to stop the Bears than Ray Horton‘s did? Will the Bears be able to take advantage of the much injured DB group? Leon McFadden will once again get a shot to prove he deserves a roster spot. Jordan Poyer will get to show his flexibility dropping down from safety to play corner.
The linebackers will also play a huge role in holding down the tight ends and running backs in the passing game. Will Craig Robertson and Christian Kirksey continue to show solid skills in that area of the game? Will the Browns be able to get the Bears off the field on 3rd downs?
The Browns have a group of receivers that are hard to pick who is going to make the team. Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins are the two locks after that there are many question marks. Will Nate Burelson be able to play and show he deserves to be on the team? What about Charles Johnson, the only big, fast receiver on that side of the ball with Josh Gordon hurt? Marlon Moore, Taylor Gabriel, Jonathan Krause and Willie Snead are all looking to lock up a spot on the Browns 53 man. Can Travis Benjamin show he is more than just a return guy as we all expect him to improve in the receiving game?
With Gordon suspended expect the Browns to be active in obtaining a receiver that gives them a vertical threat and helps the depth. Hawkins and Austin are likely to lead the receiving corp, which is a concern. Hawkins was the 4th or 5th receiver last year with the Bengals while Austin was allowed to walk from the Cowboys and wasn’t picked up till after the draft.
The new Johnny Jam Boogie will likely get a lot of reps tonight. He will get a chance to make an impact against backup players, though he will be playing with backups as well. What type of development will we see week to week for Johnny Football? Going through his progressions, staying square in the pocket to follow through on throws and improvising as a last resort all will be nice to see.
Expecting 4 days of preparation to showed marked improvement is unreasonable but Manziel has to worry about day to day adjustments to prepare himself for whenever his number is called; be it next week or next year. Expect Manziel to have a breakout game from a stats perspective and lead the Browns to a big win.
What are you looking forward to for tonight? Are you even planning to watch?