By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on August 19, 2014
The Cleveland Browns dropped their second game of the preseason against the Washington Redskins to push their record down to 0-2. Throughout the preseason, the Browns have shown a lack of consistency on offense and a strong ability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks on defense. Some Cleveland players stood out in Week 2, but most looked pedestrian. Here are five Cleveland Browns' players to watch in Week 3 against the St. Louis Rams.
Snead was a top receiving target on Monday night against Washington, hauling in three passes for 29 yards. Veteran Nate Burleson has yet to appear in a preseason game for the Browns and it looks as though Snead will be called upon to step up at wide receiver in Josh Gordon's absence. Snead should see action earlier in Week 3 due to his improved performance from Week 1 to Week 2.
Justin Gilbert, the Browns' No. 1 overall choice, looked good in his NFL debut accounting for three tackles and breaking up a pass in the end zone which looked to be a touchdown saving play. Gilbert will get more looks in the Browns' Week 3 matchup due to Buster Skrine's thumb injury, which could sideline him until the regular season. This will allow the Browns' coaching staff to bet an extended look at Gilbert to determine if he's a starter.
Rookie linebacker Chris Kirksey is in a positional battle with Craig Robertson to see who will start opposite Karlos Dansby on the inside. Robertson is projected to be named the starter, but Kirksey showed in Week 2 that he won't make it easy on him. Kirksey totaled eight tackles in the game, five of which were solo. Unfortunately for Kirksey, Robertson also had a strong game with six tackles and a fumble recovery.
Brian Hoyer did not look great in his attempt to win the Browns' quarterback battle outright. Although the entire offense looked out of sync, many of Hoyer's passes were thrown behind his receivers. Hoyer ended his night 2/6 with 16 yards passing and drew the ire from his head coach Mike Pettine, who said he would not choose a starter after he and Johnny Manziel's poor performances. Week 3 will be another chance for Hoyer to salvage his role.
If Johnny Manziel had a real shot at starting Cleveland's first regular season game he didn't seize the opportunity. Although Manziel technically threw for a touchdown, he did not fair much better than Hoyer; so much so, that Mike Pettine decided against naming a starter for the rest of the preseason and the start of the regular season. It'll be interesting to see whether Pettine uses Cleveland's game against the Rams as his final determination.
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