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Need to Know: Browns starters to play at least half vs. Buccaneers in 'dress rehearsal'

The Browns will travel to Tampa for their third preseason game against the Buccaneers on Saturday night.

In what's considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season, head coach Hue Jackson said Thursday he plans on playing his starters — including recently-elevated rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer — for at least a half this weekend.

Here's what else you need to know:

— As the Browns curate their 53-man roster, Jackson said he's looking forward to see how the kicker competition, pecking order at wide receiver, depth in the secondary, and defensive line rotation unfolds this weekend in Tampa Bay. "There are some battles that are going on," he said, "and we're going to have to make some tough decisions going forward, but that's a good problem to have."

— Jackson said rookie tight end David Njoku will make his first start of the preseason. Njoku, the 29th overall pick in this past NFL Draft, made his debut Monday against the Giants after missing the opener with a sore back. He's expected to play a significant role in Cleveland's offensive plans this fall.

— Jabrill Peppers, who played almost a dozen positions at Michigan, said he's never doubted his ability to patrol the open field. Set to make his second start at safety, the rookie and 25th overall NFL Draft pick said "I know what I can do."

"Things got blown out of proportion because, according to you guys, I didn't have a position, but all I know and what I told the coaches here was all I need is an opportunity," Peppers said, referencing his versatility in college. "They gave me an opportunity, and I'm forever indebted. I'm just trying to be the best person and player I can be."

Jackson added: "I laugh at all of the reports that said maybe he can't play in the middle of the field. I mean, here is a guy who returns punts and he has to judge a ball all the time. That's what he does. This guy knows how to track a ball. He knows how to find where the ball is. So, we never bought into any of that."

— Safety Ibraheim Campbell, who suffered a concussion on the first series of the preseason opener, returned to practice Thursday, but it's unclear if he'll play against the Buccaneers. "We'll see. It's good to see him running around on the field. Again, it is the first time he has been out there in a while," Jackson said, "so we'll do everything we can to see where he is physically before we stick him out there." Campbell had been working with the first-team defense before his injury.

— With the exception of Joel Bitonio (knee), the Browns expect to play their starting offensive line Saturday. The youngest member of that group, right tackle Shon Coleman, has "battled" since taking over that role, Jackson said. "There are some things that I have talked to Shon about that I want him to improve," he said. "He is working at it every day. I love his temperament. He is a young player. He has to continue to grow and get better, but the thing I like about him is he comes in every day and he is working at it. He is one of our tough guys. We like him."

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