2014 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things we know about Browns, Bears

By ANDREW SELIGMAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-30 03:12

CHICAGO (AP) - Now, the curtain rises and the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns will see how all the changes come together.

The Browns closed out the preseason with a late rally to beat the Bears 18-16 on Thursday night.

Both teams hired new head coaches, looking for sparks and trying to reverse trends.

For the Bears, it was about getting the most out of a stagnant offense and getting back to the playoffs after missing out five of the past six years under Lovie Smith. For the Browns, it's about ending years of losing.

With that in mind, here are five things we know about each team during the preseason.

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Five things we know about the Bears:

1. CAN COACH, QB RELATE? The biggest question hanging over the Bears is whether new coach Marc Trestman and quarterback Jay Cutler can relate. No one really knows at this point, although the fact that Cutler spread the ball around in the third preseason game against Oakland was a good sign for the Bears.

2. THE OLD: Even with Brian Urlacher gone, the Bears still have an aging core on defense. Defensive end Julius Peppers, linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerback Charles Tillman are all in their 30s, although none has shown any signs of slowing. The Bears are still forcing turnovers at a rapid rate, just as they did a year ago, with nine interceptions and five fumble recoveries in the preseason.

3. AND THE YOUNG: The Bears are going with rookies at right guard in first-round pick Kyle Long and at right tackle in fifth-rounder Jordan Mills. Throw in second-rounder Jonathan Bostic at middle linebacker with D.J. Williams injured, and Chicago has some young players at key positions on both sides.

4. CATCHING CONCERNS: A receiving group that appeared to be stable now has concerns, starting with Brandon Marshall's recovery from hip surgery. Throw in the fact that he said this week he doesn't understand his role, and more than a few eyebrows were raised around Chicago. Earl Bennett's recovery from a concussion is another issue.

5. FORTE'S A FIT: Matt Forte had a 58-yard run and averaged 9.9 yards a carry in the preseason. He also had a 32-yard touchdown on a swing pass against Oakland, a sign that he's adapting well to Trestman's West Coast offense.

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Five things we know about the Browns:

1. RUNNING BEHIND RICHARDSON: Running back Trent Richardson appears healthy after dealing with nagging injuries late last season and appears ready to carry the load behind a solid line. That's good news for the Browns, particularly with Dion Lewis (surgically repaired left leg) and Montario Hardesty (knee) on injured reserve and no one else stepping up.

2. NEW SYSTEMS, BIG ADJUSTMENTS: The Browns replaced a 4-3 with a 3-4 defense and went from a West Coast offense to a more vertical passing game under new coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner. How far along they are is hard to tell, because they struggled terribly against Indianapolis last week and the top players for both teams sat out this one.

3. NOT-SO-SPECIAL TEAMS: The Browns' special teams haven't done much in the preseason after losing key players in the offseason. Return man Joshua Cribbs, kicker Phil Dawson and punter Reggie Hodges are all gone, along with a handful of players who helped out on coverage. Now, they might have to get by without kicker Shayne Graham after he injured his back in warmups Thursday.

4. SILVER LINE-ING: One positive for the Browns is a veteran offensive line led by Joe Thomas at left tackle. With the blocking in place, that could buy time as Brandon Weeden tries to adapt to a new offense.

5. CATCHING AN (UNWANTED) BREAK: These haven't exactly been great times for Josh Gordon. He'll serve a two-game suspension to start the season for violating the NFL's drug policy. He also pleaded not guilty this week after being ticketed twice for speeding, once for driving 98 mph.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Giovani BernardOct 31 11:12a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) is unlikely to play in Week 9.

Trent RichardsonOct 31 10:32a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is not on the injury report for Week 9, and should be able to play Monday, Nov. 3.

Rashad JenningsOct 31 10:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) is aiming to return for the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Ronnie HillmanOct 31 09:12a

Updating previous reports, Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) is expected to have his normal workload in Week 9, despite his limited practice repetitions.

DeAngelo HallOct 31 08:52a

Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall (Achilles') tore his Achilles' again at home and had surgery to repair it Thursday, Oct. 30.

Ron JohnsonOct 30 08:22p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (back), DE Michael Bennett (toe), C Stephen Schilling (knee), CB Tharold Simon (knee), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), LB Malcolm Smith (groin), DT Jordan Hill [ More ]

Patrick WillisOct 30 07:52p

San Francisco 49res CB Tramaine Brock (toe) and LB Patrick Willis (toe) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) and CB Chris Culliver (hamstring) practiced in full.

Chris MatthewsOct 30 07:42p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed WR Chris Matthews and TE Brett Brackett to their practice squad Thursday, Oct. 30.

Scott WellsOct 30 07:42p

St. Louis Rams OG Rodger Saffold (shoulder), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), DT Aaron Donald (shoulder) and S Cody Davis (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Rodney McLeod [ More ]

Luke JoeckelOct 30 07:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars OT Luke Joeckel (concussion) has recovered nicely from the concussion he suffered in Week 8, and he could play in Week 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joeckel [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

Arian FosterOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (knee) was limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Johnathan JosephOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans LBs Brian Cushing (knee), Brooks Reed (groin) and Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. RB Alfred Blue (ankle), LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee), CB Johnathan [ More ]

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Justin TuckOct 30 06:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), CB Carlos Rogers (knee) and WR Kenbrell Thompkins (non-injury) did not [ More ]

Anthony CollinsOct 30 06:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Anthony Collins (foot) and LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring) and DE Michael Johnson (hand) were limited.

Brian RobisonOct 30 06:32p

Minnesota Vikings DT Shariff Floyd (ankle, knee), TE Chase Ford (foot), CB Jabari Price (hamstring), CB Josh Robinson (ankle) and DE Brian Robison (glute) were limited in practice Thursday, [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (hamstring) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Lamin Barrow (concussion), TE Virgil Green (calf), LB Steven Johnson (ankle) and OG Louis Vasquez (illness) [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) was limited in practice for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

Billy WinnOct 30 06:22p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DE Phil Taylor (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Desmond Bryant (wrist), S Jim Leonhard (ankle), LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 06:12p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Chris JohnsonOct 30 06:12p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson, who carried the ball just three times for seven yards in Week 8, said he's frustrated with his limited role in the offense. [ More ]

Tom CrabtreeOct 30 06:02p

The New Orleans Saints waived TE Tom Crabtree Thursday, Oct. 30.

Patrick PetersonOct 30 05:42p

Arizona Cardinals S Tony Jefferson (head) and TE Troy Niklas (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Calais Campbell (knee), LB Kenny Demens (knee), S Rashad Johnson [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 30 05:22p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring) and LB Josh Martin (hamstring, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Eric Berry (ankle) and CB Christopher Owens (knee) were [ More ]

Demario DavisOct 30 05:22p

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), OG Willie Colon [ More ]

Keenan RobinsonOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins S Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) and OT Trent Williams (knee) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Ryan Kerrigan (wrist), LB Trent Murphy (knee), CB Tracy [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) practiced in full for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:02p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will start against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9, barring any setbacks this week in practice, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Mike PounceyOct 30 05:02p

Miami Dolphins OG Daryn Colledge (illness, back) LB Chris McCain (foot) and TE Dion Sims (toe) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Nate Garner (neck), LB Koa Misi [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 30 04:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Will Blackmon (finger), DE Andre Branch (groin), DE Chris Clemons (non-injury), LB Geno Hayes (non-injury) and DT Roy Miller (non-injury) didn't practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB [ More ]

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