St. Louis Rams (0-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-0)
|Date & Time||Thursday August 8, 2013, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Cleveland Browns -4 -- Over/Under: 34
The Cleveland Browns and the St. Louis Brawns face off on Thursday in a week one preseason game between two teams looking to take a leap forward this season.
The Cleveland Browns overhauled their ownership and front office and while they know building a winner is a process they look to move the process in the right direction this season. Brandon Weeden is in year two at QB and he is backed up by Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer as the Browns just don’t look to solid here. Trent Richardson has the talent to be one of the top backs in the NFL and Montario Hardesty should contribute and possibly Dion Lewis will find the form that made him effective at Pitt. Wide receiver has been an issue for the Browns with Josh Gordon and Greg Little listed as the starters but Davone Bess was brought in from Miami and should see plenty of action, David Nelson can play, and Travis Benjamin has a world of speed and talent. Overall though the Browns offense doesn’t look very inspiring.
Defensively the Browns may not have household names but those who follow the NFL closely know these are guys who can play and tackle. Phillip Taylor is a beast on the line and D’Qwell Jackson is a tackling machine. Paul Kruger looks like he is going to be around for a long time. Backup Tamk Carder is as steady as they come and Barkevious Migo can make things happen. Joe Haden is a corner who can cover man coverage and T.J. Ward, Leon McFadden, and Tashaun Gipson round out a secondary of a defense which is going to be tough to crack if they don’t spend too much time on the field and are left in bad spots by their offense.
The St. Louis Rams were greatly improved under Jeff Fisher last season and they have made some moves that make them look to be even better this season. At QB Sam Bradford can make all of the throws and now he seems to have his best group to throw to with the drafting of speedsters Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey. Kellen Clemens and Austin Davis back up Bradford so there isn’t much insurance there but Jake Long was brought in to protect the blindside. Steven Jackson is gone at running back so the job falls to Daryl Richardson but there are capable backups in Isaiah Pead, rokkie Zac Stacy, and Terrance Ganaway. While Austin will start right away Chris Givens and Austin Pettis are the incumbents. Jared Cook starts at tight end with a lot of cpmpetion at this spot with Lance Kendricks, Mike McNeil, and Cory Harkey.
Defense is Fisher’s strong suit and the Rams have a good one. Chris Long and Robert Quinn are o the ends with Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford are in the middle wile Eugene Sims , William Hayes, Jeremelle Cudjo, and Matt Conrath make up the unit. James Laurinaitis is steady in the middle with Alec Ogletree and Jo-Lonn Dunbar and we will see Jabara Williams Josh Hull and others. Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins man the corners and Darian Stewart and Rodney McLeod are at safety. The Rams have no “project” players on defense and it will be tough to make the roster on this side of the football.
The Browns are a solid favorite in this one but I just don’t see it. The Rams are the better team with better depth and while points will be tough to come by the Rams should be able to outscore the Browns here.