It’s Week 2 of the NFL’s preseason and the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants will wrap it up on Monday Night Football in Cleveland.
The Browns won their first game defeating New Orleans 20-14
The Giants lost their first game to Pittsburgh 20-12.
Browns: DT Danny Shelton (knee), OL Joel Bitonio (knee), OL Cam Erving (calf), OL Joe Thomas (rest)
Giants: LB Keenan Robinson (concussion), CB Eli Apple (ankle)
Previous Matchup: the teams met last year in the regular season with the Giants coming out on top 27-13. Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes, two of which went to Odell Beckham Jr. who had 96 yards receiving.
On the Browns side, Josh McCown threw for 322 yards and a touchdown. Terrelle Pryor has six catches for 131 yards. Corey Coleman caught the only touchdown for Cleveland.
The last time these two teams met in the preseason was in 2008. The Giants won that matchup 37-34.
Players to Watch
OT Rod Johnson
The rookie offensive lineman out of Florida State will start at left tackle on Monday night with both Thomas and Erving not playing. Looked at by the organization as a project, Johnson will get a good look with the first team offense but I expect him to play a lot with the second team as well Monday night.
I’m sure the nerves are there for Johnson as he’s been thrusted into this position on a national spotlight. Hopefully he can shake them off and protect the quarterback’s blind side. Even if he struggles, remember he was a fifth round pick and expectations were low for him coming into the season.
DT Larry Ogunjobi
The third round pick out of Charlotte should get an extended look on Monday night. Danny Shelton is sidelined with a knee injury and snaps just became available. Ogunjobi is in an interesting competition at the defensive tackle position.
Veterans Jamie Meder and Desmond Bryant will likely start but behind them is a lot of hungry players. Second year Trevon Coley has been a surprise so far and will likely be alongside Ogunjobi on the defensive line.
I only seen Ogunjobi in during the fourth quarter last week against New Orleans. Hopefully he gets more time on the field Monday and he makes the most of it to earn a role in Gregg Williams’ defense for 2017.
What to Watch
You can’t get much lower than how Brock Osweiler performed in the first game. He did make some progress towards the end and penalties didn’t help but I expected more out of the six year veteran.
If he wants to secure the starting spot, he’s going to need to have a solid performance Monday night. The Giants have a pretty good defense and is a great test for the Browns offense. The offensive line will have a test with that defensive line featuring Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon.
Getting the ball out quicker is the one thing Osweiler needs to improve upon. I know the receivers aren’t getting open quickly but on some throws including the almost touchdown to Kenny Britt, he could’ve got it to him quicker for Britt to drag his feet in bounds.
If he struggles and Kizer has another solid game of growth and development, I’d hate to be Hue Jackson this week.
Time for the Defense to Feast
Eli Manning is making his preseason debut. Unfortunately he has to face Gregg Williams’ defense in his first matchup.
The Browns defense was as good as hyped against New Orleans. They were physical and they pressured the quarterbacks all night.
Myles Garrett should have a field day as he’s matched up against Ereck Flowers who struggled in practice last week. The Giants offensive line gave up 21 sacks last year so Williams will have to get creative to find a way to disrupt Manning.
Keep on Winning
It was nice to get that first win last week and I know it’s preseason but let’s keep the momentum rolling.
Sashi Brown said in his preseason press conference their goal every season is to win 20 games. He was including these four preseason games.
I know the preseason success generally doesn’t translate to success in the regular season but winning boosts confidence, no matter the circumstances are.
In the words of late Raiders owner Al Davis, “Just Win Baby!”