As the NFL preseason kicks officially kicks off for the Cleveland Browns this upcoming Thursday, there are multiple areas in which Browns fans will be paying special attention. The NFL will be playing only thee preseason contests this season, one less than fans are used to. Traditionally, the fourth and final preseason game was comprised of players who were on the bubble in terms of making the final roster. Players in such a position will now have to showcase their abilities in the first three games. The first preseason matchup for the Browns will be against Urban Meyer and the new look Jaguars. With that being said, here are the areas that Cleveland fans will be especially paying attention to on Thursday night.
Odell Beckham Jr’s health will be one of the main storylines for the Browns throughout the preseason. While it has yet to be revealed if Beckham will suit up versus Jacksonville, the wideout has been taking apart in training camp. This is a tremendous sign for Cleveland as Beckham continues to work his way back from a torn ACL. This upcoming season is extremely important regarding Beckham’s future with the Browns, as the receiver’s hefty contract will have to be considered as the team negotiates with other younger stars such as Denzel Ward, Baker Mayfield, and Wyatt Teller. With Nick Chubb’s deal completed, Cleveland would certainly love to officially retain the services of the aforementioned three.
New Look Defense
Cleveland’s new look defense will also be on display Thursday night in Jacksonville. Players such as John Johnson and Jadeveon Clowney will make their Browns debuts. Both players have been active during training camp as the two look to be comfortable in their new home and defensive scheme. Johnson and Clowney will surely impact the Cleveland defense in multiple facets, as they are both extremely talented players who help lead in different ways. It is unclear if Anthony Walker will play in Jacksonville after suffering a knee injury in practice. While Walker was able to avoid anything serious, look for Mack Wilson to gain those reps as Jacob Phillips is also dealing with an injury. Wilson is another player who has impressed so far during camp, especially with the absence of Walker.
Battle for WR3
The battle for the third wide receiver spot on the depth chart has been extremely entertaining to observe so far during training camp. Rashard Higgins is attempting to fend off Donovan Peoples-Jones, who many have deemed the star of Browns camp thus far. Both players have an undeniable chemistry with Baker Mayfield. This not only makes them extremely attractive prospects going forward, but players that can help the team in the present as well. While Cleveland loves to run offensive plays with only two wide receivers on the field at once, both Higgins and Peoples-Jones should be instrumental members of the receiving corps no matter who earns the higher spot on the depth chart.