CLEVELAND, OH- It’s finally here Cleveland Browns diehards. While you wait patiently for the new Madden football game to release, the brown-and-orange taking on the Detroit Lions tonight should be enough to hold you over. With the installation of both a new offense and defense, the Browns look to set the tone for the season. Are you excited?
Head Coach Mike Pettine announced on Wednesday that journeyman and home town kid Brian Hoyer will start in Detroit. As the quarterback competition grows between he and Johnny Manziel, Hoyer will likely receive all of his reps with the first team and may get the whole first quarter. The city seems divided when it comes to which quarterback will hold the reins this season and my question is why? In Cleveland, the only thing that matters is “W’s” and they have been scarce over the past 14 years. To steal a famous line from the late Al Davis, whether it’s Manziel or Hoyer at the helm – just win baby!
And, everything else will fall into place.
From everything seen in training camp so far, Kyle Shanahan‘s offense is a work in progress. Many people, including this writer, were unsure on the receiving corps. Veterans Miles Austin and Nate Burleson look to be an upgrade over last season’s disaster. Did you know the Browns had the third most passing attempts in a season in the history of the NFL in 2013? Will missing Josh Gordon for some time hurt? Absolutely, but the receivers on the roster can hold their own too. The Browns stole Andrew Hawkins away from the Cincinnati Bengals. Hawkins just may be that inside slot receiver they have desired for years now. Third round draft pick Terrance West should be a treat to see run the football too.
One thing to really watch tonight is the first team defense. The Browns have vastly improved in that area and it should show right away. With veteran leaders Donte Whitner and Karlos Dansby in control, the “Dawg Pound” defense that we all once knew may return in 2014. Add the mixture of youngsters and rookies, and the Browns just might have a top five defense in the league. It is clear as day that this team is built on defense. Justin Gilbert, Christian Kirksey, and Barkevious Mingo are all ones to especially keep an eye on tonight.
Finally, for some of these players, making the roster is their one shot at their dream of playing in the NFL. They will scratch and claw for those final spots on the 53 man roster. You’ll want to keep an eye on these players – receiver Willie Snead, receiver Charles Johnson, defensive back Robert Nelson, defensive back Leon McFadden, defensive back K’Waun Williams, defensive tackle Calvin Barnett, running back Isaiah Crowell, running back Edwin Baker, and defensive end Jacobbi McDaniel.
For two weeks now, the Browns have been going up against each other. This evening, it’s time to hit some blue and white jerseys. And, it can’t come soon enough.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Browns correspondent for The Sportsfix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportsfix.net. Email Ryan at ryan.ruiz@http://126.96.36.199/~theinscr