Despite this being the last preseason game, Cleveland will look to fine-tune their offense and their defense en route to their Week 1 matchup with their AFC North division foe, the Cincinnati Bengals.
1st team offense and defense will get extended reps.
We rarely see the 1st team offense and defense play in the preseason until the final two weeks. Sometimes, we have to just wait until the regular season to see them on the field. Head coach Kevin Stefanski noted that the starters will play approximately 20 to 25 plays on Saturday.
It seems fair to give the starters a bit of playing time in order for them to shake off the rust. Joint practices are completely different from the actual games, so it is imperative that the starters get some playing time even though it’s meaningless.
Offensively, expect the offense to play one or two series and depending on how the series end. They could be out for a while or it could be a brief appearance.
It will be interesting to see how long quarterback Deshaun Watson plays, but the last time he was out on the field he looked comfortable in the offense.
The same logic applies to the defense in terms of how long they could be out there but the revamped defensive line has looked really good even without Myles Garrett.
Last impression for players who are on the roster bubble
Roster bubble players will get an extended look considering this could be the last opportunity to make an impression.
For some players, their careers aren’t necessarily over if they don’t make the 53-man roster. The CFL is approaching the midway point of their season and teams are looking to add bodies. Despite the USFL & XFL being spring leagues teams are looking to add talent to their leagues.
There is always the option of joining an NFL team’s practice squad.
Players such as wide receiver Anthony Schwartz, kicker Cade York and tight end Harrison Bryant could be on the outside looking in when it comes to their roster spots. Stefanski has stayed consistent that York is their kicker but another bad game could change that. UDFA safety Ronnie Hickman, UDFA linebacker Mohamoud Diabate and wide receiver Austin Watkins look to get a significant hold on their spots after strong performances.
All eyes will be on the Kicker situation
No position has been under a ton of scrutiny this preseason than the kicker. York has been underwhelming this preseason and Browns fans are pretty fed up with the inconsistencies shown by their 4th-round pick from the 2021 NFL Draft.
Cade York is the football equivalent of having a closer in baseball who has "amazing stuff" but can't throw a strike to save their life— Quincy Carrier (@Kwen_C) August 18, 2023
The Browns were a kick away from leaving Philly feeling pretty good about the depth.— Colb (@___Colb___) August 18, 2023
For York to feel any form of security when it comes to his job, he has to look somewhat competent in the final preseason game.
He made two field goals against the Philadelphia Eagles, then later in the game he missed two field goals (one was a potential game-winner). Those inconsistencies can cost Cleveland crucial regular season games. It happened last season and it cannot happen again this season.
Some may argue the holder is at fault for Cade’s struggles or it could be a combination of both. Who knows? All Cade has to do is make the kicks and this problem is solved.
What are you looking forward to in tomorrow’s matchup with the Chiefs?