What to Watch For, Presented by Arby's

Posted Sep 4, 2013

The Cleveland Browns begin the regular season against the Miami Dolphins at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday.

The Cleveland Browns open the 2013 regular season against the Miami Dolphins at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday.

Under coach Rob Chudzinski, the Browns went 3-1 in the preseason. In their history, the Browns are 8-7-0 against the Dolphins in the regular season, and carry a 6-4-0 mark in home games.

The last two times the Browns and Dolphins shared a field, the games came down to the wire.

On Dec. 5, 2010, Cleveland defensive back Mike Adams intercepted a pass late in the fourth quarter that helped set up kicker Phil Dawson’s 14th career game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter or overtime. With Dawson’s kick, the Browns earned a 13-10 victory at SunLife Stadium in South Florida.

In the third game of the 2011 season, the Browns earned a 17-16 home victory over the Dolphins when wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Colt McCoy in the right corner of the East end zone with 43 seconds left to play.

As this year’s game unfolds, here are several things to keep an eye on:

Quarterback Brandon Weeden. Last year, Weeden started 15 of the team’s 16 games and completed 297 of 517 attempts (57.4 percent) for 3,385 yards and 14 touchdowns against 17 interceptions. His 3,385 yards and five wins as a starting quarterback are Browns rookie records.

Weeden finished the 2012 season second among rookies in passing yards, passing first downs (168) and 20-plus yard passes (48), and his 3,385 yards passing were the seventh-most ever by an NFL rookie quarterback. They were also the 10th most yards in a single season for a Browns signal-caller.

Last season, Weeden also threw for four of the top five single-game passing yardage totals, including the top three, and three of the five longest touchdown passes by a Browns rookie quarterback. His three 300-yard passing performances were the most-ever by a Browns rookie and tied for fourth in club history for a single season.

In the preseason, Weeden completed 30 of 50 attempts for 334 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was not sacked and carried a quarterback rating of 99.9 during the preseason.

Running back Trent Richardson. Richardson broke six rookie records for the team, tied a seventh and finished in the top 10 in several categories last season.

His 950 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 267 carries, 12 total touchdowns, 72 points scored, and 1,317 scrimmage yards eclipsed the franchise’s previous marks, while the three 100-yard rushing games equaled the record set by William Green in the 2002 season.

Richardson finished in the top ten in scoring among non-kickers. He also finished third in receptions by a first-year player, third in both rushing yards and scrimmage yards by a rookie and fourth in first downs (54 total), and tied for second for points scored among NFL rookies.

Richardson rushed for a team-best 64 yards on only 13 carries during the preseason.

Wide receiver Davone Bess. Signed as a rookie free agent by the Dolphins following the 2008 NFL Draft, Bess has 321 career receptions for 3,447 yards, 12 touchdowns and 183 first downs. Bess has lost only three fumbles in his previous five NFL seasons.

Linebacker Paul Kruger. Fresh off a Super-Bowl championship with the Baltimore Ravens last season, Kruger signed with the Browns as a free agent. Kruger comes to the Browns after spending the first four years of his NFL career with the Ravens, where he registered 70 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, and two interceptions, defended 14 passes, recovered three fumbles and forced another.

In 2012, Kruger led the Ravens with nine quarterback sacks. During Baltimore’s march to the Super Bowl XLVII championship, Kruger had 4.5 sacks in the playoffs, including two against San Francisco 49ers signal-caller Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl.

Tight end Jordan Cameron. Cameron has been on the receiving end of six passes for 79 yards with two touchdowns this preseason. In the Browns’ 24-6 win over the Detroit Lions in Week Two of the preseason, Cameron caught three passes for 42 yards and two touchdowns.

In his two previous NFL seasons, Cameron has 26 receptions for 259 yards and a five-yard touchdown in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last November.

Browns offensive linemen Joe Thomas and Alex Mack. Thomas has started each of the 96 games he has played since being selected by the Browns with the No. 3 overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft and is currently tied for sixth for the most consecutive starts among active NFL offensive linemen. Mack has started 64 straight games for the Browns.

Thomas and Mack were two of the four Browns, along with right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and right guard Shawn Lauvao, who have played every snap of the 2012 regular season.

Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline. The fifth-year wide receiver out of The Ohio State University has turned 183 career receptions into 2,753 yards and six touchdowns. He has also rushed for 65 yards and one score on seven career carries. Hartline comes into the game after catching 74 passes for 1,083 yards and an 80-yard touchdown last season.

Defensive lineman Cameron Wake. Wake has registered 43.0 sacks in four seasons, including a career-best 15 in 16 starts last year. Wake’s 15 sacks surpassed his previous career high of 14, which he set in 2010, just his second year in the league after he failed to land with an NFL team in 2005 and spent two seasons with the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League.

The Browns begin a two-week road swing next Sunday with a 1 p.m./ET game against the reigning Super Bowl-champion Ravens. The Dolphins remain on the road next week, as they travel to Lucas Oil Stadium for a match-up with the Indianapolis Colts before opening the home portion of their schedule against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Sept. 22.


Bess was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Dolphins in 2008. He caught 321 passes for 3,447 yards and 12 touchdowns, in addition to 130 third-down receptions.

Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner held the same position with the Dolphins from 2002-03.

Cleveland strength-and-conditioning coach Brad Roll was Miami’s assistant strength-and-conditioning coach from 1996-2003.

Browns tight end Gary Barnidge (Middleburg), wide receiver Travis Benjamin (Belle Glade), linebackers D’Qwell Jackson (Largo), Paul Hazel (Miami) and Jabaal Sheard (Hollywood Hills), Richardson (Pensacola), offensive lineman Rashad Butler (Palm Beach Gardens) and defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin (Pensacola) are Florida natives.

Browns defensive back Joe Haden went to the University of Florida, while Butler is a product of the University of Miami.

Chudzinski (University of Miami, 1994-2003), Roll (Miami, 1989/Dolphins, 1996-2003), Turner (Dolphins, 2002-03), and offensive line coach Mike Sullivan (Miami, 2001) all coached in Florida.

Chudzinski (1986-90) and Sullivan (1987-90) played for the University of Miami.

Dolphins defensive back Dimitri Patterson spent parts of two seasons with the Browns from 2011-12. In that time, he made five starts and played in 21 games.

Miami fullback Tyler Clutts was on the Browns’ practice squad at the end of the 2010 regular season.

Dolphins punter Brandon Fields (Toledo/St. John’s Jesuit High School), Hartline (North Canton/GlenOak) and linebacker Jason Trusnik (Macedonia/Nordonia) are Ohio natives.

Miami practice-squad safety Jordan Kovacs (Curtice) and tight end Kyle Miller (Bowling Green/Elida) are Ohio natives.

Miller (Mount Union), Hartline (Ohio State), and Trusnik (Ohio Northern University) went to college in Ohio.


Fans can watch Sunday’s game at 1 p.m./ET on local CBS affiliate, WOIO-TV 19. Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Solomon Wilcots (color analyst) will call the action.

The game is also available along the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network with Jim Donovan, former Browns left tackle Doug Dieken, and Jamir Howerton on the call.

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