5 things we know about Browns, Bears

    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.


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.


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.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Timothy WrightNov 26 11:33a

The Detroit Lions have declared OT Corey Robinson, DL Gabe Wright, S Isaiah Johnson, DL Jermelle Cudjo, OT LaAdrian Waddle, WR T.J. Jones, TE Tim Wright inactive for Week 12.

Darrelle RevisNov 26 11:33a

New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis (concussion) wasn't spotted at practice Thursday, Nov. 26, and he's unlikely to play in Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins.

Calvin JohnsonNov 26 11:23a

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is active Thursday, Nov. 26, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Matt BryantNov 26 11:13a

Updating previous reports, Atlanta Falcons PK Matt Bryant (quadriceps) injured his quadriceps in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Sam BradfordNov 26 11:13a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (concussion, shoulder) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 26.

Sam BradfordNov 26 11:13a

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared DL Brandon Bair, CB Denzel Rice, WR Jonathan Krause, RB Ryan Mathews, QB Sam Bradford, OT Tanner Hawkinson, TE Zach Ertz inactive for Week 12.

Peyton ManningNov 26 11:03a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (foot) will be out at least three weeks as his foot is in a cast for the next 10 days. He'll need at least [ More ]

Devonta FreemanNov 26 11:03a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) won't practice Thursday, Nov. 26, and the team is preparing to play without him in Week 12, according to head coach Dan Quinn.

Shayne GrahamNov 26 10:43a

Free-agent PK Shayne Graham (Saints) will sign with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, Nov. 26, according to a source.

Mark SanchezNov 26 08:43a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez will start Thursday, Nov. 26, in place of QB Sam Bradford (concussion, shoulder).

Doug BaldwinNov 25 07:43p

Seattle Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin (ankle) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Tyrod TaylorNov 25 07:23p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (shoulder) said he will play in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Malcom FloydNov 25 06:53p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates (hip) and WR Malcom Floyd (shoulder) were limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Case KeenumNov 25 06:43p

St. Louis Rams QB Case Keenum (concussion) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Dexter McClusterNov 25 06:33p

Tennessee Titans RB Dexter McCluster (knee) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Kendall WrightNov 25 06:33p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (knee) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Mark IngramNov 25 06:23p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram's (shoulder) injury isn't expected to be a major concern after resting last week during the bye. It's unclear, however, if his shoulder injury [ More ]

Andrew LuckNov 25 06:23p

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Leonard HankersonNov 25 06:13p

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A. Seferian-JenkinsNov 25 06:03p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Stedman BaileyNov 25 05:53p

St. Louis Rams WR Stedman Bailey (head) is out of surgery and will be in an intensive care unit for 3-5 days. Doctors are hopeful he will make a successful recovery.

Danny AmendolaNov 25 04:43p

New England Patriots WRs Julian Edelman (foot), Danny Amendola (knee) and Aaron Dobson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Glenn DorseyNov 25 04:33p

San Francisco 49ers DT Glenn Dorsey (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 25, after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 11.

Marshawn LynchNov 25 03:53p

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Matt ForteNov 25 03:33p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte (knee) and WR Alshon Jeffery (groin, shoulder) are both listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Nov. 26.

John BrownNov 25 03:13p

Arizona Cardinals WR John Brown (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Martellus BennettNov 25 02:53p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett (ribs) has been ruled out for Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Michael FloydNov 25 02:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd (hamstring) is practicing Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Emmanuel SandersNov 25 02:23p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) is practicing Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Charcandrick WestNov 25 02:03p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Charcandrick West (hamstring) is out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Johnny ManzielNov 25 01:33p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel's tenure with the Browns may not be over, according to head coach Mike Pettine. 'I certainly hope not,' Pettine said, when asked if Manziel [ More ]

Marshawn LynchNov 25 01:23p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hernia) underwent successful sports hernia surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, according to a source. The hope is that Lynch can return in late December.

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