Good morning, Cleveland Browns fans, and welcome to gameday! Be sure to check out our game preview and prediction for the Browns' Week 6 contest today against the Detroit Lions. In this week's edition of "The Sunday Five," I talk about stadium improvements that were approved, the possibility of the Browns playing in London next year, the Josh Gordon trade rumors, and more.
The 2013 Fall Meeting League Meeting for the NFL took place this past weekend, and the Cleveland Browns were awarded $62.5 million for technological improvements to FirstEnergy Stadium. That funding is about half of what the Browns are expected to need for what they have planned, which would seem to include things like new video boards, a new sound system, and WiFi access in the stadium. The Browns' front office has been on a mission this year; they worked on improving some of the general fan experience things for 2013, and next year is when some of the "bigger" changes can be implemented.
One of the other things announced at the meeting is that the NFL will have three London games in 2014. Jacksonville, Atlanta, and Oakland were named as the three "host" teams for those games. It seems a little ridiculous to use the word "host" team, considering all those teams are really just losing a home game.
Playing overseas is a bit of a unique spectacle, though, and the Cleveland Browns could end up being one of those teams. In the past, it seems like the NFL has avoided having a "top-billed, money-maker type of game" in London. In other words, you're not going to see the Broncos facing the Patriots over there. Cleveland will have eight road games in 2014, and two of those road games will be against the Jaguars and the Falcons. We won't know until well after the 2013 season ends whether we'll have a game in London or not, but I'd be for it...selfishly as the "road team," of course.
I was asked by our Lions affiliate this week whether I thought Josh Gordon would end up getting traded, and my answer was "no." The primary reason was that I felt all of the rumors about a Gordon trade were teams making assumptions of a fire sale in Cleveland after the Trent Richardson deal, and that the Browns were "listening to offers" just for the sake of gaining intel from other teams. If you believe what Joe Banner told the USA Today this week (which I do), then it sounds like I was right:
"We're absolutely not shopping Josh. We're not going to shop him and we don't have any plan or intention to trade him. When we did the Trent Richardson trade, the perception was we were throwing in the towel, (so) we got calls on players. I guess that was a natural reaction based on how the move was perceived. If you're in this long enough, you learn to never say anything absolute, because then something comes up and you look like you lied. I personally -- and I think anybody here -- would be completely shocked if we ended up trading him. Josh is playing great. He's working his butt off."
So that should put those rumors to bed, once and for all. I still encourage you to read the full article, if you haven't done so already.
I know the preseason is drastically different from the preseason, but it's worth recalling some of the things that happened amidst the first-teamers in Detroit vs. Cleveland back in August. Brandon Weeden was 8-of-12 for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both of those touchdown passes went to tight end Jordan Cameron. Wide receiver Josh Gordon also had an impact, posting 3 catches for 72 yards.
Reggie Bush only had 8 carries for 15 yards, but had 5 catches for 44 yards. Calvin Johnson did not play in that game. Lions rookie punter Sam Martin has been praised for his punts, but remember Travis Benjamin had an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown against him that was called back due to a penalty. The first-teamers left the game with Cleveland up 17-3 in the second quarter.
It's time to predict the inactives for today's game, which is tricky given the uncertain status of our outside linebackers and the fact that we don't have a third quarterback. Here are my guesses for the Browns' gameday inactives against the Lions (there are seven inactives required): RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Charles Johnson, TE Keavon Milton, OL Patrick Lewis, OT Martin Wallace, DE Billy Winn, OLB Eric Martin. My prediction rather boldly has OLB Jabaal Sheard and OLB Quentin Groves both returning from injury.