Saturday will mark preseason game no. 3 for the Cleveland Browns. The game is often called “the dress rehearsal” game. Still, many questions must be answered. Here is what you need to keep an eye out for against the Indianapolis Colts.
1. On Guard
Can seventh round draft pick Garrett Gilkey grab the bull by the horns and prove to the team that he is the starting right guard come September 8th? Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium is a huge game for Gilkey. Keep an eye on the right side of the offensive line. The depth after Gilkey is frightening.
2. BW3’s Continued Success
The orange-and-brown offense has moved the ball well so far in the first two games. Brandon Weeden is 18 for 25 with three touchdowns in the first two games. Now let’s see him do it in a hostile environment. Weeden has looked like a much different quarterback in training camp and in games so far. Coach Chud announced earlier this week the obvious thing that most fans already knew – Weeden is QB1 for the Cleveland Browns. The 29 year-old needs to continue to show confidence and justify that decision that he worked hard for. Despite the departed sack specialist, Dwight Freeney, the Colts still have a feisty defensive front. Pay attention to Weeden’s pocket presence and footwork in this contest.
3. Let’s See “It” B-Jax
Brandon Jackson has been thrust into the back-up running back position on the depth chart. Should something happen to Trent Richardson this season (God forbid), Jackson becomes the feature back in the offense. Now in his seventh year in the NFL, Jackson has just 355 rushing attempts in his career. Just to put this in perspective, Richardson is slated to carry the ball 300 times in 2013. My point is that Jackson has low miles on his tires. At 27 years old, Jackson is fully capable of being a feature back for this team. We need to see some strong in-between the tackles running on Saturday from Jackson.
So far, we have a decent look at what defensive coordinator Ray Horton is going to do this year. In this game, it would be nice to see some blitzing packages. Horton can keep the defense vanilla the majority of the time, but let’s see some crazy blitz schemes. How else are they going to find out if they don’t do it. Especially with a smart quarterback like Andrew Luck.
5. Is the Cleveland secondary a concern?
Chud also announced this week that Tashaun Gipson was the starting safety next to TJ Ward. How will Gipson look on Saturday? This is his first game of the preseason. The Browns also drafted Jamoris Slaughter from Notre Dame. Slaughter is a injury-prone player that has not seen much time in camp. Where is he and what is his role? Ward should be seeing his first live game action as well.