Browns v Giants: What to watch for

Baker Mayfield expected to play at least 2 quarters Thursday night

Daryl Ruiter
August 09, 2018 - 12:03 pm
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

USA Today Images


Cleveland (92.3 The Fan) – While the plan is to have Baker Mayfield sit this season behind starter Tyrod Taylor, Mayfield won’t be doing much sitting Thursday night at New York when the Browns kick the preseason off against the Giants.

All eyes will be on Mayfield, who has spent the entire camp with the second-team offense and is relegated to a backup role as he enters his rookie season.

Browns head coach Hue Jackson has a set number of plays for Taylor and his first team offense – likely around 15, which should be 1 or 2 offensive series before he’ll put the No. 1 overall pick on the field.

Mayfield is expected to see at least 2 quarters of action once Taylor and the first-team offense calls it an evening.

The rebuilt left side of the offensive line with Joel Bitonio at left tackle and No. 33 pick Austin Corbett at left guard will be important to watch. Shon Coleman has been moved back to right tackle with the second-team following the return of Greg Robinson who appears to be the backup left tackle for now.

Saquon Barkley, taken second overall behind Mayfield, makes his debut for the Giants. The former Penn State back will test the Browns’ defense behind 2-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Eli Manning.

Defensive ends Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah along with linebacker Jamie Collins are all finally healthy which gives the trio an opportunity – albeit brief – to provide a preview of the havoc they plan to create this season for opposing quarterbacks.

Cornerback Denzel Ward, taken fourth overall, also debuts along with a rebuilt secondary as competition for playing time heats up. Terrance Mitchell is penciled in as the second starting corner, but E.J. Gaines and T.J. Carrie remain in the mix while Derrick Kindred challenges Jabrill Peppers for a starting job at strong safety.

The preseason opener will give plenty of opportunity for reserve players to compete for time, and jobs.

It remains unclear how much time, if any, rookie receiver Antonio Callaway will get following a citation for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license early Sunday morning. Callaway was elevated to a starting role following the trade of Corey Coleman, but that was prior to the news he was pulled over.

Depth at receiver behind Jarvis Landry is a question that C.J. Board, veteran Jeff Janis and Damion Ratley hope to begin to answer Thursday night.

Defensively, a few familiar names – Larry Ogunjobi, who is in the starting lineup for the injured Trevon Coley, Carl Nassib, Nate Orchard and Brien Boddy-Calhoun – should see plenty of playing time as they look to carve out roles this season.

The kicking competition hasn’t been talked about much through the first 2 weeks of camp, but Ross Martin is pushing incumbent Zane Gonzalez for the job.

Last time – Preseason: Aug. 21, 2017 – Browns 10, Giants 6; regular season: Nov. 27, 2016 – Giants 27, Browns 13

Projected starters – Offense: WR Jarvis Landry, TE Darren Fells, LT Joel Bitonio, LG Austin Corbett, C JC Tretter, RG Spencer Drango, RT Chris Hubbard, QB Tyrod Taylor, TE David Njoku, WR Rashard Higgins, RB Carlos Hyde

Defense: DE Myles Garrett, DT Larry Ogunjobi, DT Jamie Meder, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, WILL Christian Kirksey, MIKE Joe Schobert, SAM Jamie Collins, CB Denzel Ward, CB Terrance Mitchell, FS Damarious Randall, SS Jabrill Peppers

Uniforms – White jerseys, white pants, helmets to remain without stripes

Broadcast information – Radio: 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX and the University Hospitals Cleveland Browns radio network. TV: WEWS NewsChannel 5, NFL Network (outside of the Cleveland media market).

Kickoff – 7:03 p.m. MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey