In week two of the 2018 NFL preseason, the Cleveland Browns take on the Buffalo Bills of the AFC East at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland. Today saw the release of the unofficial depth chart for this game that is, as always, subject to change as the week and training camp continues.
Time for me to cast my eye over the chart and what I see from it (not that what I see counts for much).
All looks normal again on the left side of that struggling offensive line after Browns’ Twitter had a bit of a hissy-fit at the news Greg Robinson was practising with the 1’s earlier this week and Joel Bitonio had moved back inside to left guard. I wasn’t surprised this happened after I saw the boys at Pro Football Focus had graded Greg Robinson well at 81.8 and even put him on the preseason week 1 team of the week as their LT! With the noises Joel Bitonio has been making so far about him being shifted out to LT, I’m not surprised with the move. Bitonio just doesn’t sound like he wants the responsibility that comes with playing LT and would rather just stick to what he knows on the inside.
The offensive line is what is going to hold the Browns back this season, from what I’ve seen so far. The pass-blocking was ok but the run-blocking was awful in preseason week 1.
This week I think I’ll keep a better eye on RT Chris Hubbard as I didn’t see much of him in week 1 against the Giants. I’m intrigued to see if he’s as good as people have been saying. I also notice that Spencer Drango gets the start again at RG after struggling a bit there last week. To me, he looked ok for the most part but did get embarrassed a few times by the lineman he was up against on a few plays. He’s definitely nothing more than a backup but he’s one we might need if Kevin Zeitler keeps getting injured.
Austin Corbett starts again at LG, which I like, and I’d be happy to see him get all the reps this week to gain him that NFL experience so he’s ready for the season.
When JC Tretter was brought in at centre last year I was happy but, to be honest, I’ve been a little disappointed. This week I’d like to see improvement as he got pushed around far too much last week (as did most of the offensive line).
The passing game looks good again with no change to the starters. With Antonio Callaway and Jarvis Landry at WR and David Njoku at TE, I think we’re good to go again this week. Rashard Higgins is backing up Landry so I doubt we’ll have to wait too long to get to see him again. I think this is the season Higgins has to step up and shoulder a lot of the responsibility for the passing game.
Last week’s running game was dire and will need to improve massively before the season starts. I don’t think the blame can be solely put on the running backs as the offensive line units all looked bad in this part of the game. All 3 players heading the depth chart for this game at RB will see playing time but I really want Matt Dayes to get more reps as he’s looked good when he plays. If he’s crap, I can move on but I just need to see him play more as, at the minute, I think he could be good at RB.
The first thing I see here is that starting DT Trevon Coley still isn’t starting and the pairing of Jamie Meder and Larry Ogunjobi continues. I like Ogunjobi and see him as the best DT we have currently (not a star but the best we have) even though he’s just entering his second season in the league, but everyone else is just average. This was a poor unit throughout the game last week against the Giants and if the Browns can’t win the battle in the trenches (on either side of the ball) it’s going to be another long, frustrating season for us fans.
I’ve been championing second-year man Caleb Brantley as I so wanted him to step up into a starting role at DT with Larry Ogunjobi this year but, if I’m honest with myself, he looked bad last week as the Giants offensive line had no trouble moving him to where they wanted him. In his defence, he was double-teamed an awful lot but that’s what happens in that position. Time to start making some phone calls, John?
Mychal Kendricks is sitting behind Jamie Collins Sr at the strong-side LB spot but I’m still holding on to the hope that Collins gets traded before the season starts proper and Kendricks moves into that position as the starter. I’ve never trusted Collins’ commitment to the game, to be honest, and, for me, Kendricks was the best LB last week in the first preseason game.
Rookie LB Genard Avery didn’t play last week but he appears second on this depth chart at weakside LB behind Kirksey for preseason week 2. I’d like to see him play as I have high hopes for him and his career.
It looks like TJ Carrie hasn’t displaced Terrance Mitchell from starting opposite the highly touted rookie Denzel Ward at CB. With the overhaul of the DBs, I imagined Carrie and Ward would be the starters for 2018 and I didn’t have much interest in Mitchell. Looks like I could be wrong?
I’m pleased to see the safeties are as they should be come the regular season and I like to see Peppers getting reps at SS. I see Briean Boddy-Calhoun (so many vowels in one name) is slated as second choice FS behind new guy Damarious Randall but I can’t say I noticed him last week. Something else I need to keep an eye on in this week 2 preseason game between the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills.
I quite like Josh Allen, if I’m being honest, and think he could have a good career in the NFL after a couple of seasons on the sideline adjusting to the league. The problem he has is the fact that the Bills could be the new Browns in that they might have to rush their rookie QB in to start way before he’s ready. Maybe I watch the game differently to most other people, but I’d be starting Nathan Peterman this year with Allen backing him up and for AJ McCarron, well…whatever. I’d actually like to see Allen succeed in the league so that all the naysayers have to eat their words. It would be hilarious watching people denying that they said anything bad about him and claim they knew all along that he would be good. Sports fans, huh!? Hehe.
There’s also the Corey Coleman connection. I hope he plays and I hope our boys shut him down. This might shut a few people up who think trading him was a bad idea when none of us knows the full story. I don’t rate him at all and am intrigued to see if he plays and how well/bad he performs.
So, what are you looking at from this game? Let us know in the comments below.
Title image credit: Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News