After practice on Tuesday, Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur talked to the media about a variety of topics, a few of which concerned Thursday's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. His quotes about Thursday's game are listed after the jump.
(On how much the starters will play on Thursday)- "I’m shooting for at least a half and then we’ll see how it goes from there."
(On if Hillis will play Thursday)- "I’m assuming so. I don’t know much other than when I came out this morning, I was told he had a sore lower back."
(On if he assumes Hillis will play)- "I think so, yeah. I’m assuming so, but I don’t know. Again, we’ll have to see how that works."
(On Montario Hardesty’s progress)- "Good, he had a really good day today. We’re going to play him Thursday."
(On how much Hardesty will be involved in the offense)- "He’s going to get some snaps. I think it’s important that his process of coming back from this knee injury has been pretty, in my opinion, on pace with that I expected. Part of that is playing in the preseason games. We’ll get him some work and see how he holds up. I do think too much sometimes is as bad as not enough."
(On if there is a set number of snaps for Hardesty)- "Not really. We’ll feel it out. He’ll probably appear in the first half at some point."
(On if Brandon Jackon’s injury will increase Hardesty’s reps on Thursday)- "Montario’s workload is going to be the same regardless of who’s in there with him. If we have to put two fullbacks in the game, we’ll do it. In terms on Montario, his workload is independent right now of other guys at that position."
The Eagles' staff has indicated that their starters will play into the third quarter against the Browns, so I anticipate that Cleveland will end up doing the same. It's always good to see the starters get some practice coming out of halftime. It'll certainly be interesting to see how Cleveland's defensive line does against a mobile quarterback like Michael Vick, who looked terrible against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.
Among the players who are expected to miss Thursday's game:
- RB Brandon Jackson
- WR Mohamed Massaquoi
- WR Carlton Mitchell
- WR Joshua Cribbs
- LG Eric Steinbach
- LB Chris Gocong
- FS Usama Young
- SS T.J. Ward
- S Eric Hagg
The good news is that Massaquoi, Cribbs, Steinbach, Gocong, and other players could start practicing again next week. Players are given a rest during the preseason for a reason if they have minor injuries -- the coaches would rather have them 100% for the start of the regular season rather than have them get additional reps in.
Players who have returned to practice recently include tight ends Ben Watson and Evan Moore, linebacker Scott Fujita, and cornerback Buster Skrine.
Looking at the latest depth chart for the Cleveland Browns, the only changes made are that Carlton Mitchell and Eric Hagg were dropped to the bottom of their positions. That's probably because they are injured, but it never happened to someone like Usama Young. That leads me to believe that those guys could end up on the injured reserve, particularly Mitchell.