Here are the five areas to which I will be paying the closest attention in the Cleveland Browns’ preseason game against the St. Louis Rams Saturday night at FirstEnergy Stadium:
>Brian Hoyer taking ownership of the starting quarterback job. It isn’t enough that he has been named the starter. He now must show that he is the starter in everything he does – how he performs and how he handles himself on and off the field. Hoyer has insisted he wasn’t distracted by the competition with
>Continued high-level play by the defense. The Browns have established that they legitimately could rank in the top five in the NFL on defense. They gave their most impressive showing of the preseason against the Redskins, who were stonewalled by a goal-line stand that seemingly served notice to the rest of the league that the Browns have the mentality and the ability to stand up to any physical challenge – even in a game that doesn’t count. Two of the most encouraging performances have come from end
>More solid protection and run-blocking by the starting offensive line. Hoyer enjoyed a fairly air-tight pocket against the Lions and was mostly well protected against the Redskins. If the line is able to keep him upright and clean in this game, it will be a major accomplishment because the Rams have one of the very best defensive fronts in the NFL.>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com. We take your questions at 216-578-0850 and via Twitter @Browns_Daily.