It has been eight months since we have seen live Cleveland Browns football. On Thursday, that all changes as the 2015 season officially begins for the Browns. The Redskins are coming to town to take on the Browns in their first preseason game.
The Browns are coming off a 7-9 year, losing their final five games in the 2014 season. Brian Hoyer led the team to a 7-4 record but fell off. The season ending injury by center Alex Mack affected the team more than most anticipated. Hoyer is now gone and playing for the Houston Texans.
Heading into the first preseason game this Thursday, a new face will start at quarterback for the Browns, Josh McCown. McCown had a great second half of the season with the Chicago Bears in the 2013 season, which led to him signing a deal with the Tampa Buccaneers and served as their starter. McCown went 1-10 last season for the Bucs. Head Coach Mike Pettine said McCown will start in the Thursday night game against Washington.
Of course we did not forget, No. 2 is still No. 2 on the depth chart, Johnny Manziel will have to showcase his best stuff in the preseason if he wants to start Week 1 of the regular season. Manziel said last week that he is not getting caught up in the starting or back up roles.
While all eyes will be on Johnny Manziel, Browns first round pick Danny Shelton will catch many looks. Shelton has stood out in training camp, his teammates consistently say the same thing, "He's a big boy with speed." The Browns may have the steal in the draft in Shelton who has all the tools to be a multiple time pro-bowler and help the league's worst run defense from a year ago.
The Browns wide receiving corp is very intriguing this year. Dwayne Bowe, Brain Hartline, Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel seem to have a job locked up. That would leave a couple of spots open for talented wide receivers like Shane Wynn, Josh Lenz, Darius Jennings, Marlon Moore, Travis Benjamin and former Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor has a smooth transition to the wide receiver position early on in training camp, catching everything thrown to him and running smooth routes. His time to impress the coaches on the field came to a pause when he would suffer a hamstring injury and has not practiced since last week.
Keep an eye on Josh Lenz, he has been a touchdown machine during training camp and has been receiving many looks. Glenville native Shane Wynn has been just as impressive, doing everything the coaches ask of him and his lightning speed is hard to ignore. Keep an eye on how involved they're in the offense on Thursday, they could see a heavy amount of targets.
Ray Farmer is sticking to his guns, when the fans criticized him for not taking a wide receiver in the early rounds of the draft, he sticks to his plan and finds quality receivers that can perform, much like Taylor Gabriel did last year. Lenz and Wynn are no exception.
Browns INACTIVE against the Redskins: RB, Shaun Draughn, DB Joe Haden, DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, DB Pierre Desir, DB, Robert Nelson Jr., RB Duke Johnson, DB De'Ante Saunders, RB Glen Winston, FB Luke Lundy, FB Malcom Johnson, LB Barkevious Mingo, OL Joe Madsen (coach's decision), OL Andrew McDonald, WR Dwayne Bowe, WR Terrelle Pryor, TE Randall Telfer, DL Billy Winn.