July 23, 2014

What We’re Watching: Browns at Packers

Well, here we are: The Dress Rehearsal. The Browns head to historic Lambeau Field to take on a team that was 15-1 just one season ago. As the Browns continue 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. For reference, here’s last week’s edition. For those who care nothing about the future, we have you covered after the jump.

What We’re Watching…

Craig; I’ll be watching Mitch Schwartz. This week, Pat Shurmur talked about Schwartz’ technical approach to the position and him getting wrapped up  in the techniques and details that he thought would start to come together on the field. Now that Schwartz has had a strong first taste of NFL speed and power in Detroit, I’m hoping to see some progress this week and maybe even a few runs over to the right side of the line. The right tackle is supposed to be your bulldozing type — it’d be good to at least see him impose his will on a few running plays.

Rick: It’s amazing how perceptions change in a two-week span. I’ve gone from a little concerned about the depth of the defense to a near full-blown panic. Between injuries and suspensions, this team could be missing eight or nine players from the two-deep chart. Obviously, we have to avoid further injury, but I will be looking specifically at Billy Wynn and John Hughes. Can these two step up and contribute right away on the front seven? They had a decent game last week after the first quarter — can they do it again? Also, I really want to see Brandon Weeden put an end to this insane debate going on. Please have a good half and silence the critics. For a week, anyway.

Kirk: I’ll be watching for the sole reason that no Cleveland Indians starting pitcher will be in action.

Andrew: I’m trying hard to say anything but “Brandon Weeden,” but I’d be lying if I did. Trent Richardson may be the best player on the Browns if he turns out to be legit, but in my opinion, nobody is more important than Weeden. The NFL is a quarterback league and if you don’t have an elite QB, you’re just wasting your time. So, I’m extremely eager to see how Weeden bounces back. I want to see how he looks when given the time to get into the flow of the game and not be pulled after nine throws in three series. Weeden talked a lot this week about fixing his “small mistakes,” so I want to see evidence of this. I don’t expect him to be great this soon, I just want to see development and growth. I want to see a guy who looks comfortable and who does a few really nice things mixed in with the mistakes that I’m sure he’ll make.

TD: For me, if this is the “dress rehearsal,” I want to see a team that isn’t sloppy. Will they look organized in their offensive sets? Will they have their coverage down defensively? In other words, I want to see how this team is responding to the coaching staff. Then, I obviously want to see the strides Brandon Weeden has made now that his first game is out of the way.

Scott: I’m going to have my eyes on the trenches. Sure, Brandon Weeden will be the focal point of this game, but can the Browns offensive line — and running backs — recognize and successfully block Dom Capers’ zone blitzing schemes and give the rookie some time to make his reads? Can Mitchell Schwartz build off of what he learned last Friday and give fans some hope for the right side of the line? Can Shaun Lauvao and Jason Pinkston hold down the middle? On defense, can the young and otherwise new members of the front four on defense not only apply pressure in passing downs, but provide a first line of defense against the run? Several plays during the Lions contest went from a potential loss of yards to a six-or-seven-yard gain. I don’t expect the Packers to run the ball much, but when they do, I’d appreciate some containment.

  • DontbringLBJback

    I’ll be watching…

    1) Travis Benjamin. Can he continue to make explosive plays with the track star speed of his (amazing the difference between a 4.5 guy and a 4.3 guy).

    2) Brandon Weeden. Com’mon guys… he’s what we’ll all be watching. He can’t really go anywhere but up. If he doesn’t impress tonight, we have serious problems.

    3) DEF. Look, we’re gonna be porous at times because of the aforementioned suspensions, and injuries… but some guys have got to step up. Also, can this Cameron kid jump in and show us something.

    4)TDs. Yes, that stands for touchdowns. Will we see the 1st string score any touchdowns. Little, Benjamin, Massaquoi, and Gordon all need to step up at WR tonight.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cb.everett.9 CB Everett

    Heard that Cameron and Benjamin will be out with injuries for this one. It’s unfortunate considering they’re two bright spots/potential player-makers to keep our eyes on.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    Reduce/eliminate the self-inflicted penalties–I’m tired of how sloppy this team has looked week in and week out during Shurmur’s tenure–and avoid injuries. That’s about it. Weeden looking competent and confident would be great, and stopping the run would be nice, but are not primary in my mind.

  • cmm13

    The offense
    1. Does the Childress hire have any affect on the scheme/playcalling
    2. Does Shurmur help his young players against Capers blitz packages by making the correct calls
    3. Does Weeden make smart decisions against disguised defenses versus trying to make “college throws”
    4. Does the right side of the line hold up
    The defense
    1. Too many backups out there to define what i am looking for, so i guess the answer is for nobody else to get injured.

  • Harv 21

    - general team organization on field: crispness into plays and packages, correct personnel, absence of brain-lock penalties, general game management. Not perfection, but no overt sloppiness which could start indicating that Shurmur just lacks the skillset to keep things disciplined.

    - Weeden’s next incremental step: some pocket awareness. Picks and bad reads to be expected all season, but is he starting to understand where the pressure around him is, where to step up and when to get rid of it?

    - Montario: now’s the time, son. Trent is healing fast.

    - Schwartz: still expecting he’ll get schooled but no turnstile this week, and no panicky jumps before the snap.

    - Maybe Cooper with some catches to secure a roster or practice squad spot and push Carlton Mitchell off the bubble already. Having the size and fast twitch isn’t the same as being a baller. Just ask JJ Hickson’s coaches.

    I have no expectations about the D because the quality this week looks so bad. Maybe Skrine looking sharp, JMJ looking like he’s not having to think before taking every step and Hughes at least playing hard.

  • sgtkickarse

    You guys hit a lot of them. I want Schwartz to hold still and not get false start penalties, and stop resembling John St.Clair.

    I think/hope Weeden will be fine eventually. I think everyone freaked out over a super small sample size. I am hoping he can start to get in a rhythm a little tonight and show us we are in capable hands going forward.

    Mary Kay said today that Mo Mass may play tonight. So I guess I want to see if he can take a hit, otherwise he needs to put his health first and retire right now.

    I want to see Montario show the burst I keep hearing about from practices but have never seen myself. Lock down that backup spot.

    And I want to see play calling that makes sense, and see Shurmer with some other look on his face than one of complete befuddlement.

  • maxfnmloans

    TD hit the head on the nail- I want to see the offense break the huddle crisply, get to the line and in their sets with a sense of purpose and see the offense develop a rhythm out there. One defense, I hope there are no coverage mix ups or substitution mistakes resulting into someone running onto the field at the last minute, or getting some silly 12 men in the huddle call.

    Also, no delay of game, illegal formation, illegal shift, or false start penalties. Please. Don’t make it harder than it already is.

  • Garry_Owen

    Whether the defense has any intention of hitting the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage.
    Also, I’d like to see if Weeden can be 60% productive (don’t ask me to define that). If so, I’m 100% encouraged (again, don’t ask) that when Richardson is in the backfield we’ll have a not-embarassing offense during the regular season. Based on the first 3 series from last week, I’m pessimistic.

  • Garry_Owen

    Um, yeah. We have Shugarts on our roster, so “no false starts” ain’t happening.

  • Maieutic22
  • Sixth City Fan

    Anyone know of a site you can stream games for free for an out of town Browns fan?

  • Team Brady

    Browns win the first quarter!!!