Game: Detroit Lions(0-1) vs. Cleveland Browns(1-0)
Where: Cleveland Browns Stadium (Cleveland, OH)
When: 7:00 PM EST (Browns Pre-game for Cleveland viewers is at 6:30 PM)
Last week, it seemed like quarterback Charlie Frye took control of the position over Derek Anderson, but the competition isn't over yet. Could a matchup against a porous Lions' defense permit some more success this time around? Last week, our secondary had no issues whatsoever with the Chiefs offense, but this week could be a whole different story. The Lions have one of the best passing offenses in the NFL: will we see any flaws from someone like Eric Wright? Let's find out what's in store for today's game...
What We're Looking For:
- Quarterbacks: Depending on who starts the game, it's tough to tell how much time each quarterback will receive in the system. Whatever happens though, a starting quarterback must be named after this week's game, or Romeo Crennel is an idiot. Even if the quarterbacks are close, he needs to make sure the starter develops more chemistry with the first-team offense without having to worry about the second team. Brady Quinn will get some playing time in the second half, and I'd expect him to try some throws down the field.
- Running Backs: After being limited to four carries last week, I expect the Browns to attempt at least one drive in the first half in which they feed Jamal Lewis the ball several times in a row. Granted, we'd like to see the quarterbacks get some reps to show who the starter will be, but it cannot be at the expense of the running game. Jerome Harrison has looked better in practice than he did on gameday last week and will be seeking redemption. Chris Barclay has seen more reps in practice after his game-winning kick return last week, so it'll be interesting to see if his number is called when Quinn is in the game.
- Wide Receivers: I haven't really seen too many injury updates on Tim Carter, but it would be nice to see how effective he can be as a slot receiver. Travis Wilson and Joshua Cribbs failed to impress last week as receivers, but they will probably see action before Maurice Mann and Steve Sanders, two men who have been looking very good in camp. Joe Jurevicius wasn't really targeted last week, but based on Derek Anderson's success with him last year, it would make sense to throw the ball towards his way often.
- Tight Ends: To be quite honest, I could care less if Kellen Winslow gets the ball in the preseason, because I'd really like to save all of his energy, and the plays associated with him, for the regular season. My interest here involves the competition between Ryan Krause and Darnell Dinkins, particularly how much better of a blocker Dinkins is than Krause.
- Offensive Line: The pass protection was solid last week, but we get more of a glimpse on the push they get in the running game today. It's early in the year, but hopefully Joe Thomas does not have another false start this week, considering he's only supposed to play about one half. Last year's draft pick, Isaac Sowells, may return to action with the second team offense. His progress may determine whether or not I'd rather put him on the PUP list to start the season or not.
- Defensive Line: The defensive line wasn't exposed last week, but that was more so related to the Chiefs being so inept offensively. The Lions are not notorious for their running game, as they'll feature Tatum Bell in the backfield to start things off. If the Browns are trying to defend the pass in certain situations, I want to see how well our defensive line reacts to the draw play.
- Linebackers: Linebacker David McMillan stepped up last week and could see some reps earlier in the game. During the week, Leon Williams has seen extensive playing time with the first string, and could actually start if Andra Davis is rested. I'd like to see if the Browns try out the combination where Kamerion Wimbley and Antwaan Peek rush from the same side, but that's probably something that they'll save for the season.
- Defensive Backs: The secondary couldn't have done a better job last week, but they'll be put to the test in a major way when they have to defend both Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson. The Lions passed for around 500 yards of offense last week against the Cincinnati Bengals defense, and veteran Jon Kitna will not be afraid to attack Eric Wright often. I think Wright will be fine, but I'm particularly interested how Brodney Pool will do in coverage when one of the Lions' receivers cut towards the middle of the field on a deep ball.
- Special Teams: There are no concerns for Phil Dawson or Dave Zastudil, meaning the focus here will be on the punt return game. Chris Barclay started attempting some reps at the position in practice, but muffed a few of them. Syndric Steptoe was not flashy last week, and will get a second crack at showcasing himself.
This is the official gameday topic for the second preseason game of the year, featuring the Detroit Lions against the Cleveland Browns. All comments regarding the game should be posted in this topic. Last, but not least, GO BROWNS!!!