First of all, if you are on the Cleveland Browns roster and you are playing in the fourth pre-season game, either you are a rookie or your career isn’t going as well as you would like.
Of the 22 starters in last Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay, only two were even suited up last night in the 24-0 loss to the Chicago Bears.
In other words, if you are real important to the Browns when the regular season starts a week from Sunday in New Jersey against the New York Jets, you didn’t even suit up yesterday.
So, can anything be taken away from last night’s contest?
Despite reports prior to the game that WR Dwayne Bowe might be released if he didn’t show a lot against the Bears, coach Mike Pettine said after the game that the veteran’s spot was not in jeopardy, and we will take him at his word.
We believe that Isaiah Crowell will be the principle running back at least until rookie Duke Johnson is ready to go. That statement was made when Terrance West got most of the carries in the first half.
We have said all along that Terrelle Pryor would make the team, and that Pryor got a few touches in a “wildcat” formation proves that. Why put it in if the former Buckeye signal caller isn’t making the team.
Our guess is that one area of extreme interest for the Browns in scouring the waiver wire will be offensive line help. Yes, the starters should be solid, and first round pick Cam Irving lends some depth, but the rest of the reserves are sieve-like. GM Ray Farmer needs to find one or two more solid players at that spot.
Several players probably played themselves out of any chance to make the final roster with key mistakes.
WR Darius Jennings fumbled inside the Bears 15-yard line. He later had a long kickoff return, but with the wide receiver position already loaded at least in numbers, that didn’t help. Also, Cleveland has a number of smaller wide outs, of which Jennings is one.
There were several defensive backs who played poorly as well. However, that is one of the team’s strengths, so those guys didn’t figure to make the team anyway.
It will be interesting to see what Pettine and Farmer do about WR Josh Lenz. If they keep eight receivers, he will probably make it. The first year player out of Iowa State even played defensively at safety, a good sign that he has impressed the coaching staff.
He looked the best out of the wide receivers who played last night.
He also believe that the only way Pettine keeps three quarterbacks is if Johnny Manziel can’t play in the opener. Thaddeus Lewis completed a bunch of short throws, but fumbled once and was picked off twice against the Bears’ second team.
He didn’t make a very good case for himself in the Windy City.
So now, Pettine and Farmer will lock themselves in a room with the rest of the coaching staff and begin the difficult chore of paring down the roster to 53. And for the first time in a while, they will have to cut some players who have the ability to play in the NFL.
Letting Phil Taylor and Ish Kitchen go earlier in the week was the first sign of that.
However, even after the roster is pared on Saturday, there will still be some changes, particularly in the offensive line.
It will definitely be an interesting weekend.