The Cleveland Browns are prepared to end the preseason on Thursday night so that they can begin preparations for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 of the games that matter. There are still some 53-man decisions to be made and some other items to sort out though, so we dig in.
Grab bag topics only
In two words, please describe what you care about most in Week 4 of the preseason.
Gerberry: Finish healthy.
Gilbert: No injuries.
Josh: Stay healthy.
Bode: Zero injuries.
Are there any starting positions that you believe are up for grabs still? What is the biggest battle left?
Gerberry: With the recent cut of Joe Haden, starting corner is a three-man race for two spots. Jamar Taylor seems to have locked down one spot, but Jason McCourty and Breian Boddy-Calhoun are going to see their fair share of playing time opposite him.
Gilbert: I don’t think there are any big starting battles up for grabs still. The only battles are for roster spots and playing time. Guys will be fighting to gain a spot on the 53-man roster and be the last spot on the position’s depth chart. The starters seem to be set across the board, but positions like the third receiver on the depth chart or the order of the tight end depth chart could be decided by performances in the fourth preseason game.
Josh: Although I’m not sure of any specific position battles, there will be plenty of players battling to make the final 53-man roster. With the roster to be trimmed from (almost) 90 to 53 on Saturday, there will be a lot of players going all out Thursday night to prove that they should make that final cut.
Bode: I sort of soft disagree with Joe Gerberry because I consider a team’s top three cornerbacks to all be starters with how the NFL is played these days. The starting spots that could be up for grabs are at defensive tackle- if Danny Shelton’s injury status persists- with Larry Ogunjobi and Jamie Meder and tight end with Randy Telfer and Seth DeValve each showing good promise.
What surprise player can play themselves onto the 53-man roster?
Gerberry: Though he is a favorite of mine, the writing on the wall looks like Nate Orchard might not make it due to injury. He hasn’t practiced most of the week, but if he is able to play and produce, he should be able to get his foot in the door.
Gilbert: I think if Kevin Hogan plays well, he can win the third quarterback spot and cause Brock Osweiler to get released. Hogan has only played one game, but he has the chance to make an impression in the final preseason game to cause the Browns to keep him on the roster.
Josh: I’m going to answer the question by switching it around and saying the player that I would be quite surprised if they make the 53-man and that’s Brock Osweiler. His days in Cleveland seem numbered. Let Kevin Hogan be the third-string quarterback.
Bode: Everyone expected that I was going to select Kenneth Olugbode here. I shall not disappoint.
What position are the Browns most likely to sign someone onto their 53-man roster off of waiver cuts of another team?
Gerberry: Wide receiver. This may be wishful thinking, but between the copious amounts of cap room and doomsday prepper-esque stockpile of draft picks, the front office should be able to get some sort of upgrade between now and Saturday at the wide receiver position.
Gilbert: Cornerback. After the release of Joe Haden, the depth at the position is not good (It wasn’t good before the release either). The team has three locks in Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Jamar Taylor and Jason McCourty, but beyond that there are a lot of questions. The Browns will most likely look to add at least one and possibly several to enhance the depth of the position and maybe even find ones who can contribute on the field.
Josh: I know we’re only supposed to pick one, but I think the Browns need to sign more talent both at receiver and cornerback. They lack depth at both of those positions, especially after Joe Haden was released on Wednesday. With so many players set to get cut, there will be plenty of talent for the Browns to choose from.
Bode: Jordan Payton, Rannell Hall, and Jordan Leslie do not belong on a NFL roster, but two of them would make it onto the Browns. So, scouring the waiver wires for wide receiver help is going to be a priority.
Does the single cut system (90 to 53 on one day) change anything for the Browns or NFL?
Gerberry: It does make it a little harder on players that have been released to find work, unless the team doing the releasing is generous and lets the player go, ala Joe Haden. As for the NFL, there might be some pushback from the player’s union, but it doesn’t seem enough of a problem to cause long term distress.
Gilbert: I think the one cut makes the whole weekend absolutely nuts. Teams will need to be so aware of what the rest of the league is doing and examine which players are available. It will be fun to watch for NFL fans, but probably a stressful and hectic few days for the NFL teams.
Josh: It’s definitely going to be strange and create much more mayhem on Saturday. Then again, it also allows the fourth and final preseason game to be a little more enjoyable than it usually is because so many players are playing for a spot on the 53-man roster. Saturday will be crazy though. Hopefully the Browns will take advantage of it.
Bode: The single-cut system helps give more players an opportunity to play longer into the preseason and allows teams to protect their starters even more in Week 4. The other side is that those players who end up being cut cannot get a second look on a different team. So, it is hurting and helping depending upon the individual player. It doesn’t affect the Browns as a team or the NFL as a whole much though.
Should Kizer even take a snap in Week 4?
Gilbert: I would only give him one drive and that would only happen if the entire starting offense is also on the field. I am not putting him out there with any backup offensive lineman. I want him to stay healthy and run with the best the team offers. If some of the starters are missing, don’t play him.
Josh: No. Playing even one series won’t help him really, especially because many of the starters won’t play. Don’t take the chance, Hue.
Bode: Sure, Kizer can take lots of snaps. All of which should be done on the sideline and not in the actual game. Week 4 of the preseason is the one week where I want our rookie quarterback to be holding a tablet.