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Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game: How the Browns can find success vs. Commanders

Much of the success of the game will hinge on how the starters perform in their first taste of action this preseason

Keys Commanders

The Browns will host the Commanders on Friday at Cleveland Browns Stadium for their second preseason game — and it'll be a notable game with Browns starters set to see action for the first time this year.

We're breaking down the three biggest keys for them to find success in their first game back at home.

A Healthy Day for Everyone

For all starters who begin the game, the true objective is to exit the game in the same condition as when they entered.

Staying healthy is the top priority for the entire team, particularly after a week where the Browns dealt with two significant injuries to their defensive line. DEs Alex Wright (knee) and Isaiah Thomas (knee) both underwent arthroscopic surgery and aren't expected to return until after the season begins. Staying healthy is always a top goal for teams in the preseason, and that certainly won't change as the Browns debut their top players.

Crisp Showing from Watson

QB Deshaun Watson sat out last week's Hall of Fame game against the New York Jets but will debut Friday and likely play the first 1-2 offensive series. Watson has had a solid training camp with good connections to WRs Elijah Moore and Amari Cooper, and the Browns would love to see that continue in a real-game setting.

For Watson, the goal is to operate the huddle smoothly, protect the football and move the offense at an efficient pace.

QB Pressure from Defensive Starters

Top defensive players will also start the game, which provides a valuable opportunity to see how the starters are grasping the new schemes from defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Pressuring the pocket is the core principle of Schwartz's system, so any sacks, QB hits or QB pressures would be a great sign that the learning process is going smoothly for a revamped defensive line that could feature as many as three new starters for Week 1.

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