By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on August 12, 2014
Last week against the Detroit Lions during their first preseason game, the Cleveland Browns displayed a new style of play that appeared to suit the team's personnel very well. Cleveland showed overall improvement, but there are still some areas of concern for the new-look Browns. With that, here are five things to watch for during Cleveland's Week 2 matchup with the Washington Redskins on Monday night.
Cleveland's first-round draft choice in 2014, Justin Gilbert, was not active during the Browns' first preseason game due to a groin injury. Leading up to the game, it was unclear whether he would suit up for the first time, but the Browns were cautious with their injured players -- and rightfully so. However, it would be in Gilbert's best interest to get out on the field so he can show why he is capable of starting once the regular season begins.
Although the Browns only faced Matthew Stafford for one series and Calvin Johnson was inactive, the defensive unit looked much-improved, applying consistent pressure on QBs Dan Orlovsky and Kellen Moore. The front-seven's ability to push back the offensive line was encouraging, especially among the defensive linemen. Cleveland's defensive backs must get better in coverage, but as far as preseason games go, Joe Haden and Donte Whitner impressed.
WR Josh Gordon is still awaiting his suspension, and the Browns need their young receivers to step into more of go-to role. Two young guys looking to make a difference in 2014, Charles Johnson and Willie Snead, both had notable games, although for different reasons. Johnson had three catches for 30 yards, while Snead was unable to haul in a pass. Johnson looked like the more game-ready WR as opposed to the undrafted rookie Snead.
In their first preseason game, the Browns did a nice job of moving the team downfield but were unable to come up with any plays for six points. Both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel showed the ability to sustain drives which led to field goals, which almost proved to be enough. For a team that's struggled on offense, touchdowns have been a premium, so a few crossings of the goal line in the second preseason game would be a big confidence booster.
Veteran Brian Hoyer was given the starting nod in Cleveland's first preseason game, playing the entire first quarter. After the game, it was reported that Manziel had done enough to pull ahead of Hoyer and start the team's second game. However, Mike Pettine put those rumors to rest, saying that he hadn't made a decision yet. Manziel played most of the second and third quarters, so it will be interesting to see if he starts Monday's game.
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