Now that the Cleveland Browns have finished training camp, the coaches have shifted their focus to the third preseason game, against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night.
They set up a “mock week” for the players to find the rhythm of what a typical game week is like during the regular season.
“We have shifted our focus from last week’s training camp, to getting now more into game preparation,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “We’re spending our mock week preparing for them and some of the challenges that they bring. They’re a playoff team. They were 11-5 last year, an outstanding team.”
“A road game, which will be a first time we will get a chance to do that this preseason, we will go through that process and guys getting used to doing that and what we want on a road trip,” Chudzinski said. “We will also play indoors in a dome. This is a team that has a lot of speed (at the) skill positions.
“Their front, their defense, they run really well so that will be a challenge for us. We are preparing for the crowd noise, as well. One of the things we want to do in practice this week is utilize the crowd noise so we can go through those procedures and get use to that, as well.”
The third preseason game is often dubbed a dress-rehearsal game, as many of the starters will play into the second half. While some of the Browns’ starters will not play after halftime, Chudzinski said a bulk of them will get “a series” after the intermission.
“The initial plan is to go into the third period, where they have to come out after halftime to make adjustments and go through that process,” Chudzinski said.
Chudzinski is very familiar with Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano, as the latter was a graduate assistant at the University of Miami during the same time the Browns’ coach played tight end for the Hurricanes. The two also coached together at Miami, and with the Browns.
Chudzinski was one of the many NFL coaches and executives that expressed support for Pagano during the 2012 season, after he was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia.
“I know him well,” Chudzinski said. “I have a lot of respect for him. I still have the picture of my kids in their ‘ChuckStrong’ t-shirts that we sent to him last fall when he was going through his ordeal. I’m just happy to hear everything is going well with him from that standpoint.”
Chudzinski has made it a point to observe the Browns’ defensive-line drills on a regular basis because he enjoys watching the players compete against each other. He is hoping the practice-field competition will benefit the team during the regular season.
“We want them to be a strong unit,” Chudzinski said. “From what they have shown and what they demonstrate on a daily basis, they are working toward that. Time will tell if they ultimately get to that and to be that. They also have a lot of pride. I love going out and watching individual drills. They’re all working to get better. It is a competitive room, and that’s what I like to see as a coach.”
Browns safeties T.J. Ward and
“I am looking forward to seeing that,” Chudzinski said. “T.J. had a good practice yesterday. We have been cautious with it, but he is looking full speed and everything seems to be a go. We will determine that later in the week. I am looking forward to seeing those two guys working together. They have a lot in practice, so it’s not like it is going to be something that is foreign once they get out on the field in a game, but we still would like to see them in a game.”