You know the drill. Third preseason game. This one is supposed to resemble an actual football game for at least a half, possibly longer. Obviously we don’t want to see any injuries, (a win would be nice as well!) but aside from that there are a few things that we (WFNY staff) would like to see happen Saturday night. Here they are-
Rick- I want to see how the offensive line will do against one of the better defensive lines in the NFL. If the Browns can open holes in the running game and keep whichever QB that is in there upright it bodes well for the season. I have serious reservations about that right side. On defense I’d love to see Shaun Rogers on the field and the defense at full strength. Without Rogers I don’t think they have a chance to stop the running game, especially against a stud like Chris Johnson.
Scott- If Derek Anderson can perform against a team that is not the Detroit Lions. We saw the discrepancy against Green Bay, and then the rebound last week. Can he put together a few drives against one of the better defenses in the league? How will he react under pressure. This will be the (hopeful) deciding game for the quarterback controversy. D.A. needs to prove that he can work in high-pressure situations. This should be one of those.
DP- Run defense. The Titans killed the Browns by running the football last year, and as the third pre-season game is largely considered the “dress rehearsal,” the Browns figure to see a large dose of the Titans’ #1 offense. How well can the Browns stop the run this week? They were better against Detroit, but come on… it’s Detroit. One would assume Rogers will not be playing, so it may not be easy to get a true read on this aspect. But, considering some of the teams looming early on in the season schedule (Vikings with Peterson, Ravens with their three-headed monster, etc.), this is a very important aspect of this defense’s progression.
Craig- Run offense. I want to see the run offense find some rhythm. With all the talk about the quarterback position, I think we aren’t really seeing enough of the running game. I want to see the offensive line develop a rhythm run blocking and I want to see one of the back hit the hole consistently for a decent per-carry average. I don’t care which back it is, but I need to see it. The real solution to the quarterback situation could very well be setting up the pass with some physical run blocking.
TD- The 2nd WR slot. Josh Cribbs wants to be the man, but even as good as he can be at the position, the team still is best suited for Cribbs to be the 3rd WR and special teams maven (in my opinion). That is where his peak value is. Rookies Mohhamad Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie, along with veteran Mike Furrey seem to be getting the best cracks next to Braylon Edwards. Massaquoi has looked great in practice of late, a tad ahead of the local hero Robiskie. Can either of these two take a big step forward in clicking with whomever guides the first team offense during this “dress rehearsal” on Saturday night?
Brendan- Play-Action. The play-action offense is dramatically affected by the quarterback choice. The strengths and weaknesses of both Quinn and Anderson have held true to historical form in these first two preseason games. Anderson struggles to throw the short and intermediate routes while Quinn is a below average QB throwing the ball over 15 yards. We all know Jamal Lewis is an aging RB with some serious questions about both durability and effectiveness with a tank running close to E. The combination of Quinn, a QB who is not currently respected to make the throws over 10-15 yards, and Lewis, an average RB at best at this point in his career, sets up a backfield 1-2 punch in which the play action offense (vital in the NFL) is rendered ineffective. If Quinn cannot stretch the field and Lewis is less than average, what NFL defense is going to respect the play action. Anderson’s ability to throw the deep ball and stretch the field gives Jamal a chance (barring that we have a WR which catches DA’s deep balls that are on his hands). This combination gives the play action offense a chance as well. Quinn does things better than DA – he commands the offense, strong work ethic, takes responsibility for bad plays, makes the short throws. I fear that we would need a better home run hitting RB if Quinn is named the starter. Tomorrow, I would like to see how Jamal does and how the play action works with each quarterback at the helm.
So that’s what we want to see, how about you?
(Photo- John Russell)