Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur told the media during his Tuesday afternoon post-practice press conference that most of the team’s starters and first-team players on both offense and defense will play “very little, if at all” when the team finishes the 2012 preseason against the Chicago Bears Thursday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Shurmur and the Browns have 10 days between the final preseason game and Sunday, Sept. 9, when they open the 2012 regular season against the Philadelphia Eagles at home.
“We’re going to meet as a staff here now that we had a chance to watch some of the new guys that came out today that didn’t practice during the week, we’ve got to fit them in and see who may or may not play from there,” Shurmur said. “The guys who have not been lining up as the ones will play quite a bit.
“There’s a lot of things I think about when I go and decide who’s playing. I think about injury for the first game; I think about guys who need to show us more and guys going out there that want to compete and try to make this team.”
The team’s roster currently holds 75 active players. By Friday night, the team has to be down to the league-mandated 53-man roster limit. After the fourth preseason game, the coaches and front office will make the final adjustments to the opening day roster.
Shurmur said “there’s a handful of decisions” that will be made based on how the players respond to Thursday’s game with the Bears.
“With this game, unfortunately, the unintended consequence of injury is still out there for some guys,” Shurmur said, “and regardless of whether you’re a one or not, there’s a lot of guys that are going to play in this game that are going to make this team and play a lot.”
According to Shurmur, several of the players who make the opening-day roster will do so by the way they show up on special teams. Kickoff return, kickoff coverage, punt return and punt coverage could help determine what moves are made Friday.
“It’s very vital to some of the guys,” Shurmur said. “That’s why it’s an important game for a lot of guys because some of these guys that would make the team purely by playing special teams are now going to play a lot of scrimmage downs in this game. We’re going to see a lot. We’re going to see and learn a lot about our team watching the guys in there playing.”
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“I think he’s really good at center and guard -- he’s also played tackle in this league,” Shurmur said of Greco. “He did play Friday at left tackle. The unfortunate thing for those backup linemen, those sixth, seventh and eighth guys have to be somewhat multiple and if you can play all three positions, that helps you.”
The Browns made several roster moves on Monday, including placing defensive linemen Marcus Benard and Auston English on the waived/injured list. This means that if other teams do not claim either player, they will be moved to the Browns’ injured reserve list and out for the season.
The Browns also added defensive lineman
“It’s hard to get the defensive line exactly the way you want it,” Shurmur said. “You’re always looking for guys that can generate a pass rush and stop the run. We’ll constantly try the very best we can at that position, which is primary and of course, we’ll do the same at others.”
In addition to the moves on Benard, English and defensive back Antwuan Reed with regard to the waived/injured list, the Browns placed linebackers
“Shaping this roster for that first cut and getting the roster right for the season, along with getting it right for this fourth game, we had to make those moves,” Shurmur said. “We felt like Acho showed us some things and it’s unfortunate that he won’t be with us, but he’s a bright-eyed guy and I think he’s got a future; the same with Benard.”