The fourth and final exhibition game for the Cleveland Browns is in two days against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Despite this being the fourth game where starters are not supposed to play, there is a sense of redemption around Cleveland because of the poor performance in Indy last week. Here are five things we need to keep an eye out for on Thursday night.
1. Redeem Yourselves
Brandon Weeden and the first team offense looked less than stellar against the Indianapolis Colts. The first team offense is going to get one shot vs. the Bears. They need to make it count. Ideally, a 11 play 79 yard touchdown drive would be a wonderful thing to see on Thursday.
2. B-Jax Part II
Against the Colts, Brandon Jackson was given five carries. What did he do with those opportunities – gained eight measly yards. Part of the blame could go on the offensive line though. The 27-year old also dropped a pass in the flats from Weeden, which is very un-characteristic . If Jackson is going to back up Trent Richardson, he needs to get some momentum heading into the regular season. A nice little 50-60 yard performance would be sufficient. Keep in mind, the Bears will be playing mostly back-ups the majority of this game.
3. Cooper, it’s your job now!
It seems as if Josh Cooper has won the battle for one of the final receiver spots. He has caught just about everything thrown to him in training camp and in games. I want to see Cooper make this team and Jordan Norwood being released on Monday may be proof that he does. The Browns could carry just five wide receivers heading into the season. Weeden is comfortable with Cooper from their college days and it shows.
4. Who is no. 11?
Could we possibly see the first appearance of David Nelson in full pads and running at full speed on Thursday night? The Browns took a risk signing Nelson this offseason, knowing that he was recovering from a severe ACL injury. Will we see a hesitant, unsure, rusty Nelson or a tall, big target, move the chains like he did in 2011 Nelson? This remains a mystery. I could see Nelson starting the season on the PUP list if this game doesn’t go well for him.
5. A Young Secondary
We need to see more of Leon McFadden and Jamoris Slaughter. Against the Colts, they looked like what they are – rookies. McFadden was credited with two tackles and two assists last Saturday. Slaughter did not put one tick on the stat sheet. If this is possibly one part of the Browns future secondary, let’s see what they have. Its been a tough time as a Brown for Slaughter so far. He suffered a groin injury in the game and it is unclear how serious it is. Also, Josh Aubrey, who was having a decent camp as an undrafted rookie free agent is a player that is on the bubble. Look for Aubrey to get a lot of playing time against the Bears.
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.