What you need to know about the Browns
- The plan is to play the starters for the first quarter, maybe a little less.
- Everything we’ve heard this week from Mike Pettine and
Nate Burlesonindicate that the veteran receiver is going to play through his hamstring injury. Before he broke his arm in 2013, Burleson was averaging 6.5 catches and 79 yards per game with the Lions. Burleson can still play football and Cleveland needs him.
- Read more about the rise of undrafted rookie wide receiver
Taylor Gabriel, and how his teammate Andrew Hawkinshas been a big part of his early success.
- Who has been the preseason MVP for the Browns? It has to be
Armonty Bryant, right? The defensive end has started the last two games and is constantly beating various offensive linemen in pass rushing situations. Watch for that to continue, and for how much Bryant even plays with the second-string. Pettine told the media this week that Armonty will split the defensive end position with Desmond Bryant.
- We very well could see all four quarterbacks tonight.
Brian Hoyerin the first, Johnny Manzielin the second, Rex Grossmanfor the third and possibly Connor Shawin the fourth. As you know by now, plans can change drastically during the preseason. But Pettine was pretty firm on saying the coaching staff wants to see what Grossman looks like against live action.
- It’s also worth watching how much
Justin Gilbertplays tonight. After stoning Washington’s receivers on Monday Night Football, Gilbert took a major step back last week. In eight passes Gilbert’s direction, the Rams completed five of them for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Gilbert knows he has to change his approach. After the St. Louis game, he told reporters he has to expect teams are going to throw his way on every single pass attempt.
- Watch for these players tonight; all will likely have big roles against Pittsburgh:
Miles Austin, Travis Benjamin, Gary Barnidge, Mitchell Schwartz, Billy Winn, Jabaal Sheardand Jim Leonhard.
- The Bears offense shattered several franchise records in 2013: total yards, passing yards, passing touchdowns, passer rating, first downs. Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly stole all the headlines last year, but quietly, Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman really seems to know what he’s doing in the Windy City.
- The Bears overhauled the way they are playing defensive line. Instead of trying to penetrate every time, Chicago is playing a “stack and shed” gap control. The team brought in a martial arts expert during the offseason to teach the linemen more techniques with their hands.
- It appears as if the Bears are going to be resting most of their starters on Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
- One pretty big position is still wide open for the Bears: third wide receiver. Santonio Holmes is battling Josh Morgan for the spot. It’s entirely possible the two share the position.
- The Bears are planning to play rookie quarterback David Fales the entire game. Jimmy Clausen beat out Jordan Palmer as Jay Cutler’s primary backup. Now Trestman and company want to see what the 6-foot-1, 228 pound rookie from San Jose State is all about.
- A sleeper player to watch for: Jordan Lynch. The Bears are primarily lining up the former Northern Illinois quarterback as a running back, but Lynch has shown he has hands to make some plays as a receiver. Lynch was a Heisman trophy finalist alongside Browns rookie Johnny Manziel in 2013.
What you need to know about the Dawg Pound
- If you’re going to the game, visit the brand new Dawg Pound Drive for food, beverages, music and other entertainment.
- Tweet @Browns if you any comments, questions and concerns about your Game Day experience. One of our social media experts will get back to you as soon as possible with a solution.