Where: Cleveland Browns Stadium (Cleveland, OH)
When: 7:30 PM EST (Browns Pre-game for Cleveland viewers is at 7:00 PM)
Here is tonight's projected lineup for the Browns and Lions (Note: Lions' projected lineup more likely to be inaccurate, since I'm gathering this information myself. Also, bolded names for the Browns indicate a different starter from last week's game against the Eagles.):
Ross Tucker: He will be starting instead of Alonzo Ephraim due to his suspension. Ephraim will still play in the game.
Kirk Chambers: Last week, Nat Dorsey shared time with Chambers at the position. Dorsey sprained his ankle though, giving Chambers the start.
Kamerion Wimbley: This decision is still up in the air. Willie McGinest will probably be rested, but David McMillian may get the start again. However, I'm guessing the Browns may want to see how Wimbley does a little more.
Ralph Brown: After Gary Baxter getting injured, Pete Hunter getting burned, and Antonio Perkins suffering an injury, Brown is forced into the starting role at the moment.
Will Not Play: The following players will not play in all likelihood: Daylon McCutcheon(knee), Gary Baxter(knee), J'Vonne Parker(ankle), Isaac Sowells(ankle), Ryan Tucker(knee), Rob Smith(high ankle), Antonio Perkins(groin), and Nat Dorsey(ankle).
- Still May Play: At the moment, Chaun Thompson(calf) and Willie McGinest(elbow) may see some action today, but don't be surprised if they didn't.
What We're Looking For:
Quarterbacks: With the first-team offense, Charlie Frye will probably play a quarter and a half. The Brown may try to utilize the no-huddle drill during one series, because it's something teams typically like to try once or twice during the preseason. Last year against the Lions in the preseason, the Browns took several shots down field, so expect Frye to open things up today with a big-play attempt near the beginning of the game. The most important thing we'll be looking at is the chemistry between himself and center Ross Tucker. I'd expect Ken Dorsey to play at the end of the second quarter, and then come out after halftime and play a little bit. Although I expect Derek Anderson to come out after Dorsey, something is telling me that Lang Campbell will get a shot before him. Between any of our backup quarterbacks, there's one thing we need to see: something positive. Dorsey and Anderson didn't show that last week, and hardly made any throws beyond ten yards.
Running Backs: He looked strong last week, and Reuben Droughns should even get a little more action this week. I'll be looking to see which running back comes in on third-down, and if it's Jerome Harrison, you can bet that he already has that job locked up. Speaking of Harrison, he had two catches last week, but no carries. He needs to get the football on several touches tonight, even if it's against third-stringers. William Green will probably be the primary backup to Droughns again today, with Lee Suggs spelling him on certain plays. All I want to see with Green is some positive yardage, because he still looks as if he doesn't know how to find a hole.
Wide Receivers: Although Braylon Edwards isn't listed on the Browns' injury report, the chances of him playing are doubtful, since he still hasn't taken full contact in practice. Joe Jurevicius and Dennis Northcutt will get the starts again, and one of them should have a shot at catching a pass deep during the game. Travis Wilson should have a few more plays today after his nice diving catch in last week's game. Carlton Brewster and Kendrick Mosley are likely the two receivers competing for a practice squad job, and watching them in the fourth quarter will be somewhat entertaining. We'll have to see if Frisman Jackson shows up some more today, because it's highly unlikely the team will cut Josh Cribbs with the way he's been playing.
Tight Ends: All we saw from Kellen Winslow last week were a couple of safe, short-out passes. I'd love to see something over the middle today to Winslow, but I don't think the Browns want to show him off too much yet, unfortunately. Hopefully Darnell Dinkins gets involved later in the game this week, because Paul Irons didn't capitalize on either of his opportunities last week.
Offensive Line: This is the most obvious thing to watch: Ross Tucker. I know most of you won't want to stare at the center the whole game, but for those of you who tape the game(like myself), the best thing to do is pay close attention after the game. He won't be superman, but remember, this guy started 12 games for the Buffalo Bills in 2004, and the Bills went 8-4 during those games. As long as he doesn't botch snaps and allow his man to beat him every single time, that may be sufficient enough. Also, Kirk Chambers will be getting the start, trying to show the team he can be a solid backup once Ryan Tucker returns in Week 1.
Defensive Linemen: At this point, we're all pretty comfortable with our starting linemen. I'd like to see some more of Babatunde Oshinowo at the defensive end position to see if he's better suited for that position until he bulks up a little more. Simon Fraser had a nice pass rush last week, and we hope for the same today.
Linebackers: Last week, Kamerion Wimbley and David McMillian executed the pass-rush well against mobile quarterbacks. Jon Kitna won't be as mobile, so let's see if they're able to do the same thing two weeks in a row. D'Qwell Jackson was a little quiet last week, even though he was around the football. As a starter though, we need to see a little more impact out of him, because he could win the job from Chaun Thompson by default. Mason Unck did solid last week, and although he's fighting in a deep group of linebackers, he's doing nothing warranting a cut. One of the keys this week will be stopping the screen plays and short passes early on, something we didn't do very well on last week.
Defensive Backs: The only cornerback who got burned last week was Pete Hunter, so Ralph Brown is getting the start tonight. Leigh Bodden will be matched up against a tougher receiver, assuming he is against Roy Williams. Even though the Lions No. 1 receivers have not lived up to their expectations the past several years, they can potentially overmatch our backup cornerbacks at the moment, so our safeties will have to be prepared. Sean Jones didn't really show up in the stat book last week, but Romeo Crennel stated that he's winning the job at the moment. I'm hoping the Lions take a shot over the middle near our safeties this week, because the Eagles didn't really seem to try that last week.
- Special Teams: Since Channel 3's feed cut out last week, many of us didn't get to see Phil Dawson even attempt that. I'd at least like to see our offense set Dawson up for something this week, whether it be a field goal or a PAT. Dave Zastudil didn't hit any duds last week, but a few of his punts were too far due to the wind. Let's see how he does with the wind at Cleveland Browns Stadium.