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What to Watch For, Presented by Arby's

Posted Aug 21, 2013

The Cleveland Browns continue their preseason schedule against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night.

“On the road again…”

After playing their first two preseason games at home against the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions, the Cleveland Browns will close out the preseason with two games away from FirstEnergy Stadium, starting with Saturday night’s contest against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Browns and Colts have played only once in the preseason prior to 2013, and that came in 1994. The Colts earned a 24-7 victory over the Browns on Aug. 25, 1994. It was the only loss of the preseason for the Browns in a year they went 11-5 overall and earned a playoff berth with a second-place finish in the now-defunct AFC Central Division.

Before their move to Indianapolis, the Baltimore Colts played the Browns nine times in the preseason and held a 5-4-0 record in those meetings.

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

Tight end Jordan Cameron. Cameron caught three passes for 42 yards in the Browns’ 24-6 preseason win over the Lions last Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium, and two of those receptions went for touchdowns.

Cameron’s first touchdown reception, a 10-yarder, gave the Browns a 10-0 lead over the Lions with 3:22 remaining in the first quarter.

Cameron’s second touchdown of the game put the Browns in front of the Lions, 17-0, with 12:35 to play in the first half. Earlier in the Browns’ third scoring drive, Cameron hauled in a 27-yard pass from quarterback Brandon Weeden that moved Cleveland from its own 31-yard line to Detroit’s 42.

Weeden. In two preseason games, Weeden has engineered five scoring drives, three of which have ended in touchdowns for the Browns. He has completed 18 of 25 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns against no interceptions.

Weeden, who has yet to be sacked in the preseason, has a quarterback rating of 139.8 through half of the preseason.

Running back Trent Richardson. Richardson did not play in the preseason opener because of a shin injury, but proved to be a critical part of the Browns’ offense against the Lions last week. In his first-ever preseason game, Richardson played in two series and rushed for a game-high 33 yards, including a long run of 17 yards, on six carries.

Last year, Richardson was a catalyst for the Browns’ offense, as 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 for rookies, while the three 100-yard rushing games equaled the record set by William Green in the 2002 season.

Richardson finished in the NFL’s top ten in scoring among non-kickers. He also finished third in receptions by a first-year player (51), 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.

Running back Brandon Jackson. With the absence of Montario Hardesty and Dion Lewis due to injuries, the veteran Jackson has rushed for 30 yards on 18 attempts in two preseason games. Jackson also leads the team with eight catches, which he has turned into 61 yards and a 14-yard touchdown against the Lions.

Wide receiver Josh Gordon. Much like he did a season ago, Gordon has continued to make an impact on the Browns’ opponents, particularly with downfield plays.

Two plays before Cameron’s first touchdown against the Lions, Weeden found the second-year wide receiver for a 34-yard reception. Gordon ran a go-pattern down the left sideline and, despite being interfered with by cornerback Ron Bartell, caught the ball against his body with his right hand after the pass ricocheted off his left.

Gordon leads the team in receiving yards, 99, through two games this preseason.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. In 2013, Luck will look to improve on a rookie season that saw him lead the Colts to the playoffs one year after they went 2-14 while an injured Peyton Manning sat out the entire 2011 season.

Luck completed 339 of 627 attempts for 4,374 yards and 23 touchdowns against 18 interceptions last fall. Thus far in the preseason, Luck has completed 13 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns.

Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. The second-year wide receiver proved to be one of Luck’s favorite targets. As a rookie, he caught 50 passes for 861 yards and seven touchdowns, including a career-long 70-yard score, in 15 games for the Colts last year. Hilton also totaled 418 yards on 33 combined returns last year.

This preseason, Hilton has caught five passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns. He has returned two punts an average of 9.5 yards.

Defensive back Delano Howard. Howard spent parts of the 2012 season with the Colts and Buffalo Bills, but only registered two tackles. In two games this preseason, Howard has registered 16 total tackles, including nine solo stops and seven assists.

The Browns conclude the 2013 preseason next Thursday, Aug. 29, against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The Colts wrap up the exhibition schedule with a trip to Paul Brown Stadium to play the Cincinnati Bengals next Thursday.

CONNECTIONS

Browns defensive line coach Joe Cullen held a similar position at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., from 2002-2003. He later served as Indiana’s defensive coordinator in 2004.

Browns safety Jamoris Slaughter and center Braxston Cave both went to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

Cleveland defensive lineman Nicolas Jean-Baptiste spent part of the 2012 season on the Colts’ practice squad.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano was the Browns’ secondary coach from 2001-2004, and in 2003, the Browns’ defense tied a franchise record for the fewest passing touchdowns allowed, 13. In 2001, Pagano’s defensive backs collected 28 of the team’s NFL-best 33 interceptions. Rookie cornerback Anthony Henry led the league with 10 interceptions.

Indianapolis linebackers coach Jeff Fitzgerald began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Cincinnati in 1985, and later, mentored the Bengals’ linebackers from 2008-2011.

Colts assistant special-teams coach Brant Boyer was a linebacker for the Browns from 2001-2003. He was a special-teams captain, a two-time USA Today All-Joe Team selection, and the 2002 Cleveland Browns Unsung Hero Award recipient. Boyer later served as a coaching intern with the Browns in 2009.

Colts assistant offensive line coach Hal Hunter coached at The University of Akron from 1987-1990, and worked with Browns coaches Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner with the San Diego Chargers (2007-2012).

Indianapolis offensive line coach Joe Gilbert twice coached at the University of Toledo, first, as offensive line coach from 2001-03, and then, the tight ends in 2007.

Colts tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts held a similar position with the Browns from 2007-2008.

Colts cornerback Johnny Adams (Akron/Buchtel High School), running back Delone Carter (Copley/Copley High School), tackle Jeff Linkenbach (Sandusky/Castalia Margaretta High School), guard/center Mike McGlynn (Austintown/Fitch High School), center Rick Schmeig (Cincinnati/Oak Hills High School), guard Hugh Thornton (Oberlin/Oberlin High School), wide receiver Griff Whalen (Sylvania/Southview High School), and safety Ashante Williams (Mayfield/Mayfield High School) are Ohio natives.

Colts safety Larry Asante was selected by the Browns in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. After competing with the team in training camp, Asante spent part of the season on the Browns’ practice squad.

Indianapolis nose tackle Martin Tevaseu spent part of the 2010 offseason with the Browns, and linebacker Quinton Spears played 13 games for the Browns in 2011.

Wide receiver LaVon Brazill (Ohio University) and offensive lineman Ricardo Mathews (University of Cincinnati) played college football in Ohio.

Luck’s father, Oliver, is a Cleveland native and graduate of St. Ignatius High School.

MEDIA

Fans can watch Saturday’s game at 7:00 p.m./ET on local NBC affiliate, WKYC-TV 3. Jim Donovan, former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar, and sideline reporter Dave Chudowsky will be on the call.

The game is also available along the Browns Radio Network with Michael Reghi, Doug Dieken, and Jamir Howerton on the call. All radio broadcasts will be streamed live at ClevelandBrowns.com.

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