Browns vs Rams: Cleveland's Next Step

gary wertmanCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2010

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 10: Evan Moore #89 and Mohamed Massaquoi #11 of the Cleveland Browns celebrate after a catch against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 10, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Last week the Cleveland Browns looked better than most expected in defeating the Green Bay Packers 27-24. Although only a preseason game, it was very important to the Browns’ development.

Cleveland’s quarterbacks need these games to develop chemistry with the wide receivers. Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace both looked very good last week, and I look for a lot more passing this week against the Rams as well.

Once the regular season begins, the running game will probably be the Browns' main form of attack, but the coaches need to know they can throw the ball when needed. Something they could not do last year.

It will be interesting to see if the tight ends become even more of a focus against St. Louis. Evan Moore and Ben Watson have become favorite targets and should continue to see the ball a lot. Running back Peyton Hillis has shown to be a dependable receiver as well.

Defensively, the young rookies in the secondary are growing more comfortable each week. Both Joe Haden and T.J. Ward need as many snaps as they can get before the real games arrive. So far they have impressed.

Safety Abe Elam must continue to show improvement along with rookie Larry Asante. Depth in the secondary will be one of the team's strengths this season.

Marcus Benard is laying claim to the starting outside linebacker position opposite Matt Roth. Benard’s game continues to improve. I’m expecting big things from him this year.

Linebackers Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita are starting on the inside for now. With so many new players, these games are important for the defense to develop a comfort level in Rob Ryan’s complex system.

On the defensive line, Ahtyba Rubin is becoming a very solid nose tackle, while the rest of the starters and rotation are still up in the air.  These games are extremely important to players like Brian Schaefering. With Shaun Rogers still riding the bike, Schaefering will get plenty of reps.

Cleveland needs to continue their improvement this week against the St. Louis Rams. Building that winning atmosphere started last year and must continue through the preseason. Let's keep moving forward.

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