Preseason football is upon us! As the Browns head through their four-week journey of stadiums which will be empty by the third quarter, we here at WFNY will shed some light on the one thing we will each respectively be looking for from the otherwise meaningless contest. Naturally, having all player escape without injury is a priority. But beyond this, we have plenty to keep an eye on.
What We’re Watching…
Rick: I’ll be watching the future of the Browns to see how he stacks up: Mitchell Schwartz. After being tested all camp long by Jabaal Sheard, Schwartz will finally get to go against someone else. That someone else is 12-year veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch, assuming he plays. It should be a good opportunity for the rookie. On the flip side, I want to see James-Michael Johnson. I want to see if he has any shot being ready to step in on Week One. I do think the Bowns will have to being a veteran linebacker in after the cuts, but Johnson’s progress will have much to say about that.
Craig: I’ll be watching Eric Hagg. It’s one thing for the rookie to supplant last year’s free agent Usama Young. It’s another all together to bring an NFL starter level of quality to the position. For all of the issues that the Browns have had with injuries and depth on the defensive line and, now, linebacker, it’s easy to forget that many of us had concerns about the depth at safety coming into the season. They should get a good workout tonight with Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford working against them. Hopefully, for the Browns sake, Hagg passes the test.
Scott: On offense, I’ll be keeping my eyes on Josh Gordon. There’s just something beautiful about watching someone who is 6-feet-3-inches tall sprint to a point on a given field, stop on a dime and simply snare a quickly-flung piece of leather out of the sky before anyone else can even come close to doing such. And even when the ball isn’t thrown his way, I want to see that all of this talk about his desire to block in the running game is indeed true. After years of watching band aids at the receiver position, we finally get to see a physical specimen. On the defensive side, I need to see what John Hughes can do. Partly because he will need to fill in for an injured Phil Taylor, but mostly because I literally have not seen one snap with Hughes lined up over an opposing guard. Color me intrigued.
Kirk: Points. I’m looking for points. I want to see some offensive flashes that just weren’t possible last year. Weeden, Gordon, Benjamin, Year Two Greg Little, I’m looking at you. Could we pleas get a long pass connection for a touchdown at some point in this game? I also want to see if our offensive line can take that step in becoming one cohesive unit and a strength of the team with Mitchell Schwartz now on board. I’d be nice to see something from the running backs as well for some flash of hope that we have anything suitable to back up Trent Richardson. .
TD: I for one am looking forward to seeing chemistry, if any, between Brandon Weeden and his top three wide receivers — Greg Little, Mohammed Massaquoi and rookie Josh Gordon. This is the present and the future of the Pat Shurmur West Coast offensive attack. The receiver development will make of break this team as defenses will be expected to load up the box to stop Trent Richardson (when he’s playing) and it will be on those guys on the outside to get to their spots and get open. With their little time thus far to prepare, I am anxious to see what progress has been made.
(Photo via WFNY)