Pre-Preseason Thoughts

(Source: Getty Images)
(Source: Getty Images)

One month ago I made some predictions about the Browns roster for the season. Here are some updates as we head into the Browns first preseason game this evening:

The O Line

Jason Pinkston has been waived by the team and will most likely be retiring due to blood clots in his lungs, ending a promising career in the NFL.

John Greco is refusing to give up his starting spot without a fight. He’s shed 25 pounds in an effort to remain relevant in Shanahan’s new zone blocking scheme. That said, Garrett Gilkey should not be dismissed–He will continue to fight for a starting spot throughout the preseason.

We should all keep an eye out for Martin Wallace. He’s been chippy during camp, getting into scuffles with teammates a couple times. While Coach Pettine has condemned fighting in practice, he likes his linemen–O and D–nasty and agressive, and Wallace seems to have those qualities.

Browns have also picked up Nick McDonald, Randall Harris, and Michael Bowie off waivers, but all three are injured and will not play tonight. They do, however, add considerably more competition to an already crowded group of O-line potentials.

Offensive Skill Positions

Despite a lot of speculation, no one knows what’s going on with Josh Gordon’s appeal. He’ll play tonight in Detroit… nothing outside of that is certain.

Regardless of the outcome of Gordon’s appeal, Browns fans (and opposing defenses) should take note of wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Willie Snead during these preseason games. With Chandler Jones cut and Gordon potentially suspended, there may be room for both on the roster this fall.

As I expected, tight end MarQueis Gray will not make the squad. But to my surprise, fullback MarQueis Gray looks like he will. And it looks like Gray, in his new position, might knock Chris Ogbannaya off the roster.

With young guys Isaiah Crowell and Edwin Baker standing out during training camp, Dion Lewis might never see a regular season game as a running back for the Browns.

Defensive Line

Billy Winn will be starting for Ahtyba Rubin, who will be starting for Phil Taylor, who is rehabbing an injury. While Pettine has developed a reputation for moving his defensive players all over the map, I expect this situation to settle as Taylor gets healthy.

If he plays like he did during the team scrimmage, it will be fun to watch Barkevious Mingo tonight as he starts over Jabaal Sheard. Expect Sheard, however, to continue to be a heavy contributor on defense.

Craig Robertson and Christian Kirksey will continue to battle for the second inside linebacker position next to Karlos Dansby. It will be fun to watch this competition play out during preseason games.

Journeyman Zac Diles helped his chances of making the team with a pick 6 during the team scrimmage. He may unseat Tank Carder for a spot on the roster come September.

I no longer expect Cam Henderson to last very long in Cleveland. With Jacobbi McDaniel standing out during the team scrimmage with a tipped pass that led to an interception, I expect the rookie to snag that roster spot.

Defensive Backs

Pettine brought in his old friend Jim Leonhard to provide veteran knowledge of his defensive scheme. He’s pretty much guaranteed a spot on the roster for the year. I’d start saying goodbye to Johnson Bademosi now.

I’ve never been a big Leon McFadden fan and thought the Browns drafting him in the 3rd round last year was bogus. With the Browns’ addition of Aaron Berry, another Pettine veteran, I think McFadden’s time with the team could be limited.

Special Teams

Yeah, I was wrong about Jake Rogers, and Billy Cundiff is back. Whatever. #IstillmissPhilDawson

Other Notes

No, I am not surprised Hoyer is starting. Starters have to lose their jobs. He hasn’t. That said, I am looking for two things when it comes to Browns QBs tonight: how many times Manziel throws from the pocket (or doesn’t), and how Connor Shaw plays under the big lights.

And I am even less surprised Skrine is starting. And that has nothing to do with Justin Gilbert’s groin injury. If you were 100% positive, totally sure that Skrine wouldn’t start this season, you weren’t paying attention last year.

Alright, now it’s time for some football. GO BROWNIES!

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