Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Don’t expect to see much Friday night when the Cleveland Browns host the Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Typically the third preseason game is a ‘dress rehearsal’ for teams around the NFL but not these two teams.
They’ll meet Sept. 9th again in Cleveland to kick off their seasons so neither team will show much.
“I think it will be more of a lack of scheme thing more than anything,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said.
They might not do much in the way of scheme, but the starters will still get their work in. Shurmur will play his starters for “about a half” while Eagles coach Andy Reid expects to pull his after a quarter.
Quarterback Michael Vick will not play after sustaining a rib contusion during Monday night’s 27-17 win over the Patriots.
Even though both teams will play it close to the vest Friday night, Shurmur downplayed the notion of having to hide too much from the Eagles.
“I think the game is won and lost by the players,” Shurmur said. “There’s a fair amount of scheme involved, but the players have got to go out and do it, and we as coaches try to help them. There is some familiarity because I was there for 10 years. Some of the coaches that are here, like Dick Jauron was there as well, Brad Childress of course. I think you can overdo that. Then you get into the he-said she-said, I know they’re going to do this or we’re going to do this.
“It can get crazy. I think what you need to do is, do the things that you think your players do best as matched up the best you can against who you’re playing against. I think that’s where the focus needs to stay.”
Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, whose confidence is growing by the snap, isn’t sure if seeing Philadelphia twice in 3 weeks will be an advantage or disadvantage.
“I’d have to imagine it’s going to be pretty vanilla this first time out,” Weeden said. “I think, why would they come in and show all the blitzes and do all the things but I’m going to plan like they’re going to blitz and do all the things they do, and kind of take what they give me.
“But I have to say it’ll be a little bit different week 1 than it will be Friday night.”
There could be an advantage to seeing the Eagles twice in 16 days – but linebacker D’Qwell Jackson concedes it could be minimal. That’s why their focus needs to be on progressing and not just trying to figure out any details within the Eagles game plan.
“We have a lot of guys in the building that are familiar with the Philadelphia Eagles,” Jackson said. “I’m sure both sides won’t show their hand as much. What I mean by that is there’s not going to be a lot of scheming going on, just bodies on bodies and see what we can get accomplished. But for the most part, to actually see the bodies, and actually prepare somewhat right now just to see what type of plays they attack us with, it’ll be good to watch the young guys get in there and we just need to take steps forward.”
The Browns are slowly getting healthier.
Jackson will likely return to the field and start against Philadelphia. Defensive end Frostee Rucker expects to return as will tight end Jordan Cameron.
Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace remain in competition for the backup quarterback job which will not be decided until after the preseason concludes.
Friday night is another audition for both.
“They’re both guys here who are fighting,” Shurmur said. “They’re trying to develop themselves to be the starter and when it all settles out, we’ll see where they line up, but I think they’re both guys that have gotten better in our system over the last year. When they’ve gotten in games, they’ve both had a chance to have some limited success so they’re similar in a lot of ways.”
Through 2 preseason games, Wallace is 10 of 17 for 130 yards and a touchdown while McCoy has completed 10 of 14 passes for 146 yards including a third quarter touchdown drive against the Packers.
With the first round of roster cuts coming Monday afternoon at 4, it’s also one last audition for a few who may be on the bubble.
The final cuts to 53 will come a day after the final preseason game is played Thursday against Chicago.
CLEVELAND BROWNS PROBABLE STARTERS/INACTIVES
Offense: WR Greg Little, LT Joe Thomas, LG Jason Pinkston, C Alex Mack, RG Shawn Lauvao, RT Mitchell Schwartz, TE Jordan Camereon, WR Mohamed Massaquoi, QB Brandon Weeden, FB Owen Marecic, RB Montario Hardesty
Defense: LE Jabaal Sheard, DT Ahtyba Rubin, DT John Hughes, RE Frostee Rucker, SLB Kaluka Maiava, MLB D’Qwell Jackson, WLB James-Michael Johnson, LCB Joe Haden, RCB Sheldon Brown, FS Eric Hagg, SS T.J. Ward
Special Teams: K Phil Dawson, P/H Reggie Hodges, KR/PR Josh Cribbs, LS Christian Yount
Inactives: TE Ben Watson, LB Scott Fujita, CB Dimitri Patterson, S Usama Young, DT Phil Taylor, LB Chris Gocong, RB Chris Ogbonnaya, RB Trent Richardson, S Ray Ventrone, OL Oniel Cousins
Reminder of New Security Measures: In accordance with a new NFL policy for all stadiums this season, the Browns will do away with “pat downs” and all fans will be subject to metal detection prior to entering Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Fans will be asked to hold their keys, cell phones and any other metal items in their hands during the wanding process.
The new security procedures, mandated by the league, will be in place for the preseason home opener against Philadelphia.