Plenty of intrigue as Browns, Colts clash

By Steve Doerschuk

The Canton Repository

Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski calls it “mock week.” Count him among the majority who regard preseason Game 3 tonight against the Colts in Indianapolis as The Big Dress Rehearsal.

Here are five items that should add to the intrigue:

1. Brandon Weeden vs. Andrew Luck

These quarterbacks dueled twice in 2012.

In the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 12, Weeden passed for 399 yards and three touchdowns to lead Oklahoma State to a 41-38 overtime victory over Stanford, whose QB was Luck (347 yards, two TDs).

On Oct. 21 at Indianapolis, Luck passed for 186 yards and ran for two touchdowns in a 17-13 Colts win. Weeden passed for 264 yards and two touchdowns. He couldn’t add a third TD when Josh Gordon dropped a 41-yard fourth-quarter bomb at the goal line.

2. The wideout shuffle

Gordon will start against the Colts but will be on suspension for regular-season games against Miami and Baltimore. Slot man Davone Bess might be rested for the opener, partly to keep Miami from gauging how he will be used in the opener. Six-foot-5 David Nelson, coming off a knee injury, might see his first action as a Brown. Weeden’s former Oklahoma State security blanket, Josh Cooper, is expected to play a lot.

3. Nervous time on guard duty

Injuries and a trade that fell through have forced veteran backup tackle Oniel Cousins into a start at right guard. Rookie Round 7 pick Garrett Gilkey hasn’t convinced coaches he is ready for prime time.

“Cousins has done well in practice,” Chudzinski said. “Gilkey will get opportunities with the first group. We will just see how the game goes.”

4. Cobbling together a secondary

Safety T.J. Ward and his new running mate, Tashaun Gipson, might be on the field together for the first time this preseason. Buster Skrine has a chance to lock down the cornerback job opposite Joe Haden. Rookie third-round pick Leon McFadden might get meaningful time at cornerback in the first half.

Luck and his wideouts could keep them busy. Reggie Wayne is a potential Hall of Famer. Free agency pick-up Darrius Heyward-Bey would give Browns blazer Travis Benjamin a good race.

5. Front-seven shuffle

The edge-rushing group was deep before rookie Barkevious Mingo landed in Cleveland Clinic with a bruised lung. Now, Jabaal Sheard is nursing a knee issue. Starting outside linebackers Paul Kruger and Quentin Groves probably won’t be put at risk for more than a half. Rookie Kendrick Adams, who was Mingo’s teammate at LSU, will never get a better shot at proving he belongs.

Up front, end Desmond Bryant is out with a back issue. Billy Winn gets a start.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

HS Results 8/20: ‘Boro nabs another win in Tennessee

Springboro followed up Saturday’s win with a 4-0 victory over Farragut (TN) at the Bearden High School Girls Soccer Tournament in Tennessee on Sunday. Alex Garver, Bridie Herman, Peighton Banks and Paige Obrecht all had goals for ‘Boro. Springboro returns to the Buckeye state to face Springfield on Wednesday. SCORES LIST Boys Soccer Saturday&rsquo...
Reds set record for grand slams allowed in season in loss to Braves
Reds set record for grand slams allowed in season in loss to Braves

Braves rookie Sean Newcomb relied on some clutch defense — including his own creative play — to frustrate the Cincinnati Reds. Tyler Flowers’ grand slam broke open a close game in Atlanta’s six-run fifth inning, Newcomb earned his first home win and the Braves beat Cincinnati 8-1 on Sunday. Newcomb (2-7) gave up five hits with...
Siri reaches milestone in Dragons’ win over Lake County
Siri reaches milestone in Dragons’ win over Lake County

Dayton’s Jose Siri hit a home run and stole a base to become the first Midwest League player since 1982 to reach 20 home runs and 40 steals in a season as the Dragons defeated the Lake County Captains 8-3 on Sunday. The Dragons opened the game with back-to-back home runs. Randy Ventura hit the second pitch of the contest for a homer to left field...
High School Football: WL-Salem seeks seventh straight playoff berth
High School Football: WL-Salem seeks seventh straight playoff berth

Experience is limited for the West Liberty-Salem Tigers with four starters back on both sides of the ball. The last time the Tigers were in that situation it worked out pretty well. “Back in 2013 we had five returning starters and those guys had a fantastic year,” West Liberty-Salem coach Dan McGill said of the team that reached the regional...
Bengals cut veteran defensive tackle, pair of rookies
Bengals cut veteran defensive tackle, pair of rookies

The Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday parted ways with the first of what could a handful of veterans over the next few weeks with the termination of defensive tackle Brandon Thompson’s contract. A third-round pick out of Clemson in 2013, Thompson appeared in 39 games with seven starts. He missed all of 2016 after tearing his ACL in the 2015 season...
More Stories