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.

---

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

Lardarius WebbJul 29 10:45a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back) missed his third straight day of practice Monday, July 28, and will undergo further testing to determine the extent of the injury, according [ More ]

Jairus ByrdJul 29 10:43a

New Orleans Saints FS Jairus Byrd (back) was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Alfonso SmithJul 29 10:43a

The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) to an undisclosed deal and waived/injured OT Fou Fonoti (undisclosed).

Eric WinstonJul 29 10:43a

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent OT Eric Winston (Cardinals) to a one-year deal.

Kelvin BenjaminJul 29 10:40a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) doesn't have a timetable for his return after bruising his left knee, but he is expected to be back in days, not weeks. [ More ]

Josh ThomasJul 29 10:03a

Carolina Panthers CB Josh Thomas (undisclosed) was activated from the Non-Football Injury list and is practicing Tuesday, July 29.

Chris IvoryJul 29 09:53a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is likely to be the team's goal line back, according to running backs coach Anthony Lynn.

D'Aundre ReedJul 29 08:53a

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent TE Brett Brackett (Cardinals), undrafted free-agent QB Seth Lobato (Northern Colorado) and DE D'Aundre Reed. QB Brock Jensen was waived and OG Davonte Wallace (undisclosed) was waived/injured.

Ricky SappJul 29 08:43a

The Houston Texans signed free-agent RB Tim Cornett (Cardinals) and OT Mike Farrell (Broncos) to undisclosed deals. LB Ricky Sapp was waived.

Alan BonnerJul 29 02:23a

Houston Texans WR Alan Bonner (foot) was placed on the Texans' Reserve/Injured list after clearing waivers Monday, July 28.

Brandon JenkinsJul 29 02:13a

OG James Dunbar (Bears), OT Anthony Dima (Texans), OT Jack Breckner (Colts) and LB Brandon Jenkins (Redskins) all cleared waivers Monday, July 28, and are free to sign with any team.

Menelik WatsonJul 29 01:43a

Oakland Raiders OT Menelik Watson is slated to start at right tackle. The coaching staff has confidence in his ability after what was largely viewed as a disappointing 2013 [ More ]

Jimmy ClausenJul 29 12:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jimmy Clausen was accurate with his throws during practice Monday, July 28, and he led a touchdown drive during a two-minute drill. Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com [ More ]

Jordan ZumwaltJul 28 11:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Jordan Zumwalt (groin) left practice early Monday, July 28, and WR C.J. Goodwin (shoulder) was held out of drills during practice.

Rod StreaterJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (concussion) is dealing with a concussion, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 11:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is expected to be sidelined at least another week due to his hamstring injury. Beckham was originally [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreJul 28 11:33p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) has not been cleared to practice yet due to lingering concerns about his surgically repaired right knee. However, he appears close to joining his teammates.

Chris CantyJul 28 11:33p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (family issue) missed practice Monday, July 28. OG Will Rackley (head) and OT Parker Graham (groin) also missed practice.

Alfonso SmithJul 28 11:33p

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to announce the signing of free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) Tuesday, July 29. The team needs healthy reinforcements with RBs Kendall Hunter (knee) [ More ]

Juron CrinerJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Juron Criner (hamstring) has been sidelined from practice due to a hamstring injury, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Gavin EscobarJul 28 11:23p

Dallas Cowboys TE Gavin Escobar has often lined up out wide during training camp, and offensive play-caller Scott Linehan is experimenting with different ways to get him involved in the offense.

Roy MillerJul 28 10:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars DT Roy Miller (shoulder) returned to practice Monday, July 28, after being given the day off Sunday, July 27, to rest his shoulder that he had surgery on in the offseason.

Cyrus KouandjioJul 28 10:43p

Buffalo Bills OT Cyrus Kouandjio has struggled in training camp, and Joe Buscaglia of 550 Sports Radio believes that OT Erik Pears is now the frontrunner for the starting RT job.

Mario ManninghamJul 28 10:42p

New York Giants WR Mario Manningham (knee) said he is still not 100 percent confident in his surgically repaired knee. 'I'm working on it,' he said of overcoming that [ More ]

John AbrahamJul 28 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals DE John Abraham was detained, questioned and later charged with multiple counts, including DUI, on Sunday, June 29, according to arrest reports in DeKalb County. Abraham missed [ More ]

Anthony DixonJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills RB Anthony Dixon was listed as the No. 3 back on the team's first official depth chart with RB Bryce Brown listed as the No. 4 back.

Scott ChandlerJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills FS Kenny Ladler (hamstring), TE Scott Chandler (groin), TE Tony Moeaki (hamstring) and TE Chris Gragg (cramps) were held out of practice Monday, July 28.

Joe HawleyJul 28 10:02p

Atlanta Falcons C Joe Hawley and C Peter Konz have both been taking reps with the first-team this offseason.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 09:53p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) had tests on his injured hamstring Monday, July 28, and the results were negative, according to two sources briefed on the injury.

Danny AmendolaJul 28 09:43p

New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola has spent the offseason working with trainer Alex Guerrero. Guerrero is also QB Tom Brady's trainer, and he helped WR Julian Edelman prior to last season.

Marlon MooreJul 28 08:42p

The Cleveland Browns signed WR Marlon Moore (Dolphins) Monday, July 28.

Clay HarborJul 28 08:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Clay Harbor (calf) will miss some time with a strained calf, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group