The Browns are coming off of a very professional, business-like 23-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and will look to follow the same formula this week against the Giants. Following two spirited joint practices with the Giants on Thursday and Friday that provided great reps for the starters, the vast majority will once again be rested. That means Sunday will once again be about those players trying to make an impression to earn more playing time, a roster spot, or both.
1. Raw Power Rushing Attack
The Browns did just about everything right in the preseason opener, but they did not run the ball nearly as effectively as they would have liked. The Browns ran for just 29 yards on 22 carries against Jacksonville and that 1.3 yards per attempt average is well below the usual standard of the team. Look for the ground game to be a point of emphasis against the Giants and I expect the Browns to tap into their wide zone and raw power rushing attacks with significantly better success on Sunday.
Check out photos from the second day of joint practices with the Giants at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus
2. Smooth Operation
More than even the win over the Jags, I think HC Kevin Stefanski was most pleased with the way the Browns operated in all three phases. The Browns had only one pre-snap penalty all game against Jacksonville, which would be excellent in Week 17 with your starters. To do so with the second and third units speaks to the quality of coaching and to the talent, discipline the complete buy in of the players. Repeating such a clean operation will not only help the players earn the trust of their coaches and improve their chances of making the roster, it will likely lead to another victory on Sunday.
3. Separation Sunday
Last week Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah, Demetric Felton, Richard LeCounte, Sheldon Day, Kyle Lauletta and Davion Davis made great impressions with their performances in the preseason opener. Sunday represents another opportunity for those players to continue their positive momentum and for others, especially those in key roster battles, to try and separate from the pack in their quest to make this team.
This is especially true for the defensive end room where a real opportunity exists to claim that fourth defensive end spot. Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and Takk McKinley will not be playing on Sunday and the only other DE who spent the entire 2020 season on the Browns active roster, Porter Gustin, left Friday's joint practice early with an injury. With Gustin's status up in the air, the Browns will potentially only have four active defensive ends for the game. Joe Jackson led the Browns with three pressures against the Jaguars and will look to finish the deal with some sacks on Sunday Cameron Malveaux, Curtis Weave, Romeo McKnight and Jackson will all get plenty of chances to standout and a big performance could significantly help their chances of making this team.