The Cleveland Browns play their final preseason game on Saturday, August 27 against the Chicago Bears.
This is essentially the dress rehearsal for Week 1 so we are going to see the starters get some playing time.
Chicago #Bears starters, including QB Justin Fields, will play "up to a half" (25-30 snaps) during Saturday night's preseason finale. #Browns will play most of their starters too, so both teams will get starters vs. starters action for at least a little bit.
— Noah Weiskopf (@BrownsWithNoah) August 25, 2022
Because of this, there will be some crucial elements of the game to watch specifically when the starters are in the game.
They are as follows:
1. QB And Center Connection
Jacoby Brissett will start the game.
Watching him interact with the center Ethan Pocic will be important.
Both were backups at the start of the season, but given Nick Harris‘s injury and Deshaun Watson‘s suspension, there have been so many moving parts in the offense that their connection has to be established.
The #Browns are now down to C Ethan Pocic and C Brock Hoffman as the only healthy centers on the roster
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) August 15, 2022
Bad things happen when the center and quarterback are out of sync.
One perfect example happened in the Browns’ playoff win over the Steelers in January 2021.
Reminiscing back to happier times as a Browns fan (and the time that Ben Roethlisberger refused to dive for a fumble in a freaking playoff game). pic.twitter.com/ngote2xIMf
— Josh Poloha (@JorshP) January 25, 2022
2. QB And WR Connections
If there is a question mark on offense regarding depth and experience, it is at the wide receiver position.
Much has been said and written about Amari Cooper‘s experience, and his trade may be the best off-season move the Browns made.
However, behind him are a lot of young and relatively inexperienced players, and it is really unclear how well they will perform when the pressure is on.
Though this is a preseason game, it is time for one to step up and assume the WR2 role without question.
— Lance Reisland (Coach Riz) (@LanceReisland) August 16, 2022
The heir apparent appears to be Donovan Peoples-Jones, but David Bell could make a case for himself also.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) August 15, 2022
The Browns’ defense has been banged up in the preseason.
Those who were not banged up have been given rest days and were not active in the preseason games.
It is time to put the pieces together to see what the defense looks like.
The defense has been the least discussed element of the Browns roster because it has not changed significantly.
It could end up being the most important facet of the game given the offensive challenges.
#Browns DE Myles Garrett on 11 games w/out Watson: "I think it's an opportunity. I think it's a challenge. I feel like us, as a defense, we have to look forward to taking on that task. That's an opportunity for us to step up to the plate and be a very dominant defense."
— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) August 23, 2022
Hopefully, we get a glimpse of what this defense is capable of.
They played an incredible game against the Bears during the 2021 regular season so it will be easy to compare what the starters can do against Justin Fields given that performance.
Good morning my Cleveland Browns family! This is a friendly reminder of what Myles Garrett did to Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears last time they played !!
4 tackles for loss
6 QB hits
4.5 sacks#Browns #NFL #brownstwitter pic.twitter.com/RrSyTmmZlR
— The_Brownie_Elf (@TheBrownieElf1) August 24, 2022
While it is interesting to study the preseason game when the starters are in with great interest, it is not the be-all and end-all.
NFL coaches are far too smart to give away all of their secrets to opposing teams in the final preseason game.
That means we won’t see everything, but hopefully, we see enough to settle the nerves of fans (and perhaps coaches) wanting to make sure the team is buttoned up and ready for Week 1.