April 24, 2014

Browns vs. Lions: What We’re Watching For…

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?

  • Mark

    I’m still most concerned about the D-line. That’s where I’ll be focusing on. Can the get pressure? Can they penetrate up the middle? Can they stuff the run? If we can’t do these things pretty consistently this season, we will be in for a long year.

  • MrCleaveland

    A Thug Named Suh has earned himself a reputation as dirty player. It’s a serious possibility that he might rag-doll McCoy and put him out for an extended period of time.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I will be watching the O-line, primarily, followed by McCoy. If the O-line can protect McCoy, and if he can make the right reads and decisions if/when they don’t protect him, I will be encouraged.

  • mgbode

    i’m going to sit back, watch our OL, and smile.

    loved the drive blocking that we had in the GB game, really interested to see if it carries over against a better moving DL like the Lions have. really, this is a great 2-game set for our OL to practice against. first, Dom Capers blitzes and complicated sets (somewhat vanilla for preseason but still some there) and then Schwartz’s athletic side-to-side movement DL schemes.

    with Steiny out and Yates retired, our depth is pretty well depleted. that’s the negative (the positive being that we have the depth to make up for that much at least). i’m really worried about Pashos staying healthy (aren’t we all), so hopefully Braxton gets some time there against Detroit (though I’ve read he’s primarily backing up at LT in practice)

  • mgbode

    BuckeyeDawg, you beat me to it :)

  • humboldt

    For the out-of-towners, is there going to be a satellite feed of this game available?

  • http://serandez.blogspot.com Ezzie

    I want to see the Browns’ O-Line against this, possibly the best D-Line in the league. If they hold their own and keep McCoy up, I’m happy in that area.

    I want to see the WRs keep getting separation and see McCoy keep making good reads.

    Obviously want to see some of the question marks become answered positively: Little with his hands, Hardesty get some quality action, etc.

    Really want to see how the Browns’ secondary does against Stafford/Johnson et al, and most importantly see the Browns’ front generate pressure and *contain the run*. The Browns in the first 11 weeks will be playing a lot of teams with young/poor QBs, and those teams need to not be able to think “it’s OK, we’ll just run the ball on these guys”.

  • Garry Owen

    @ 6: I’ve looked, but haven’t found one. NFL Network will be replaying it at some point, but nothing live.

  • Harv 21

    With so many false positives and negatives in preseason match-ups because vets aren’t letting out the throttle yet (Ben Gay, anyone?), I’m looking for a more general sense that the Browns on both sides of the ball seem to know where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to be doing. The crispness thing. That might tell me that Shurmer might be a gen-u-wine head coach.

    Having said that, still want the receivers and Colt to again look in synch, the rook d-linemen to show some attitude and want a gander at the young cb’s in camp.

  • Tim

    If Suh does anything that could remotely be construed as dirty to McCoy, the Lions better be ready for Stafford to pay for it. And since Stafford is made out of glass, that could mean another long year for them.


    Suh….don’t make Jabaal throw Matthew through a window


    Maybe its our turn for our defense to show a little nastiness!The Ratbirds and pittspuke have been doing it for years! Have our rookie D linemen take page out of Suhs book! shouldn’t be that hard Sheard threw a guy through a window!

  • Woods

    @Humbolt – NFL Network replay of the Browns game is at 10AM on Sunday morning. I will be watching at this time.

  • TJ

    I’m from Columbus and I know that the game will be on CBS where I am. I’m not sure about anywhere else, but those from Columbus should be able to find it on CBS. If you’re driving there is a good chance you can find the game on 105.7fm. Again this is just in the Columbus area.

  • mgbode

    you guys have it backwards. sheard won’t throw stafford through a window. matty boy is made of glass. sheard will throw someone through stafford.

  • Mark

    I remember last preseason that WMMS had live streaming audio online, so that might be an option for my fellow out of towners.

  • humboldt

    Cool, thanks for the info @Woods and @Mark.

  • ManSleezee