By: Luke Wondolowski
The Browns will try and go 3-0 on the preseason as they travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Friday. Last Friday the Browns toppled the Colts 21-18 in Indianapolis. Many of the starters sat out last week which opened the door for the back ups to try and earn their spot on the the 53-man roster.
This week, you can certainly expect to see more of the starters to see action if not most of them. As always there will be plenty to watch but here are three things that you should be paying attention to in Friday’s game.
1) Who is going to start?
Baker and some of the other starters are showing interest in starting out the game. Baker said on Wednesday that he “would like to play at least a half.” Freddie Kitchens wasn’t ready to commit to his star QB playing an entire half though and made it clear that the amount of playing time for starters will get depends on the player. Kitchens has already come out to state that the starters will not play a minute next week for the final preseason game. It’s a high-risk, low reward kind of deal. Why risk an injuries? I like the idea of Mayfield and other starters playing, but not a half. It would be more reasonable to have Baker just play for a quarter.
2) First to 53
With the Browns expected to play the starters for a good period of time, that means there is less time for the backups to make their mark in this game. Still, there are a lot of bubble players who are trying to make the 53-man roster for the upcoming season. The wide receiver position is one interesting one to say the least. With Antonio Callaway being out for the first four games due to a suspension all eyes are on the backups to see who can make a name for themselves and make the final cut. That includes Braxton Miller who just signed with the team this week. Time is of the essence for him to make his mark on this team.
3) Kickers Are People Too… sort of
The battle for the kicking job is getting heated, as it seems that neither Greg Joseph or Austin Seibert want the starting job that bad. Maybe the Browns should give another guy on the roster a try. Punter, Jamie Gillan – aka the Scottish Hammer – is making headlines as after nailing a 60-yard field goal during practice. Kitchens joked earlier this wee that “if (Jamie) is out there kicking 60 yarders, hell, he might get a chance … I know that we all looked at him as a punter, but things change.” Could his chance come against the Buccaneers? I say this, give the Scottish Hammer the chance to try kicking. If he’s more consistent than the other two, make him the unofficial starter for the team until you know what you are going to do with the kicking spot.
Where to watch: You can find the game on 92.3 The Fan, or on News Channel 5. Kickoff is set for 7:30.