As the Browns continue to work their way through this accelerated training camp, it’s time now for us to ramp up our games. In advance of our weekly “Browns Will Win If…” posts, we like to stretch the hammies and take a few laps during the pre-season games. With that, we give you: “What We’re Watching For…” again this year. AND, IT’S THE GLC!! The Browns and Lions are both coming off of fairly impressive wins. The Browns’ starters should be playing into the second half–or, if nothing else, until halftime.
Other than this, what needs to be said?
With that on the table, what are we here at WFNY looking for tomorrow night?
What We’re Watching For:
Rick: First, to see who will be playing in this one. Sounds like Ward, Hillis, Steinbach, Young, Fujita and a host of WRs won’t be participating which means more depth, but fewer reps for the starters to get familiar with the system and each other. I will be very interested to see if Hardesty gets some carries. He has been practicing this week and should be cleared to see some action, though it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he was shut down again “for precautionary reasons”. Lauvao and Pashos should have their hands full this week, and it will be interesting to see where the duo stands. They won’t face many defensive lines better than Detroit’s.
DP: First off, I want to see if Colt McCoy can continue to look efficient and confident with the ball and with his decision-making. Regardless of who’s playing with him on the first team, if he makes decisions and throws like he did on Saturday, it will show. Also on offense, I want to see how the offensive line–without Steinbach, for one–will handle the defensive line up front of the Lions. Please, no more choke-slams from Suh this year. On defense, I must say I’m morbidly curious to see what kind of complete evisceration Calvin Johnson can do on Sheldon Brown. I thought Brown looked pretty ordinary against Green Bay’s ones, and Johnson has the potential–if he in fact plays–to completely humble and humiliate a secondary. I will also be curious to see which of the young DBs steps up in this one, as that might be the spot on the team most open to young guys pushing and getting a roster spot. Finally, it will be interesting to see what kind of game Pat Shurmur calls. I thought he called a good one against the Packers; let’s see if he can follow it up.
Craig: I will be watching to see how many bodies the Browns put on Suh. Last year Suh attempted to decapitate Jake Delhomme and the Browns offense seemed so surprised by the violent outburst that nobody even jumped to Jake’s defense. They will have no excuses this year. If they let Suh anywhere near Colt McCoy I’ll be upset. That being said, rookie Jason Pinkston could be getting reps between Joe Thomas and Alex Mack with some back tightening for Eric Steinbach. Other than that, I’ll be looking to see if Montario Hardesty appears healthy. If not, I will officially start looking for Armond Smith or Quinn Porter to make this roster. Browns fans will freak out because the Browns used a second round pick on Hardesty, but I truly think Porter and/or Smith are pretty adequate replacements with their quickness and speed. They seem like prototypical West Coast weapons.
Andrew: I think above all else I’d like to see the Browns’ offense build on what they did last week against Green Bay. It’s important not to get carried away with expectation in the wake of the first preseason game, but still, it was important from a confidence standpoint. Not just confidence, but also to help team chemistry and help the team buy into Coach Shurmur’s system. But ultimately, that game doesn’t matter anymore. What matters now is where the team goes from here. It would be foolish to not expect some setbacks at different points in the season as this is obviously still a huge work in progress. But against the Lions, perhaps another up and coming team, I think it’s just as important to see the offense follow up the Green Bay game with another solid showing. I want to see consistency out of the WRs and I want to see if Colt can continue to show the same poise and accuracy. Defensively, the Browns still have a lot of work to do. I just want to see what the defensive line looks like now that they have a game under their belt. If the CBs not named Joe Haden are going to be shaky this year, then it’s important that the D-Line is disruptive. Stafford is a good QB and Calvin Johnson is a great WR, so this will be another huge test for the Browns defense.
What about you, folks?