The meaningless games that are the NFL preseason continue tomorrow as the Cleveland Browns host the Detroit Lions. The second game is where fans get to see the first team offense and defense play for at least two quarters. But, for the orange helmets, is this game completely meaningless? Here are some things to watch for tomorrow night.
While some experts or fans are against it, Trent Richardson will play in his first professional preseason game of his career. What’s the key you ask? Keeping TRich healthy is the number one priority. It will be nice to see him in on a couple of drives, then straight to the sidelines. Richardson must show lateral quickness and run north and south – no stuttering and dancing at the line.
With 15.5 sacks in his career, we need to really watch Jabaal Sheard tomorrow night. Sheard is playing a completely new position at outside linebacker. I want to see Sheard in pass coverage and also working against Lions first round pick in 2012, Riley Reiff. Sheard is important to watch in the first half.
So far, I like almost everything I see out of Jordan Cameron in 2013. Cameron has improved his blocking abilities tremendously and is working hard on route running after practice. While Cameron is important to watch tomorrow, it is Gary Barnidge that I want you to look for Thursday night. Barnidge was brought over
from the Carolina Panthers by Coach Chud. Barnidge displays good hands, excellent blocking skills and a veteran toughness. Don’t be surprised to see Barnidge mixed in with the starters tomorrow on a few plays. The 27-year old could very well be the second tight end on the depth chart once the season starts.
Chris Owens and Buster Skrine are very important pieces of the secondary puzzle. We have yet to see Owens and Leon McFadden play. Owens could start at cornerback on Thursday. However, Skrine is having a very good camp and could also start. We need to see how Owens and Skrine react to the aerial assault of Matthew Stafford. The Lions are stacked with offensive talent.
Although there I mixed opinions, third year receiver Jordan Norwood is on the bubble. The reason is because Josh Cooper is out playing him and staying healthy. If he plays on Thursday, Norwood needs to flash. Other than Cooper, other receivers like Cordell Roberson and Naaman Roosevelt are doing everything they can to move up the depth chart.
Just like any preseason game, the Browns need to stay healthy and continue to grow as an offensive and defensive unit. These few things are just more glue that will bind the team together in
2013. Consistency is the main key tomorrow night.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Cleveland Browns Correspondent for The SportsFix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportfix.net.