Browns-Rams Preview

Browns-Rams Preview

The new-look Cleveland Browns play host to the St. Louis Rams in the season's first practice game, 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8 at FirstEnergy Stadium in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.

On the heels of the Cleveland Indians bringing the first somewhat meaningful sports contests to the city since 2007, the new and rebooted Cleveland Browns debut Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Hmm… well, this is awkward, Indians. Thanks for a great spring and summer! It was fun. You're a great time. Really, you are. But, well, there's this team, the Browns, and we kinda are getting excited about them and we're kinda more into football, so, yeah… We'll see you next spring, though!

Yay! Football is back!

Although Thursday's Browns' game is meaningless, the starters will play only a quarter and the opponent isn't important, there are still plenty of things to get excited about seeing the (again) new-look Cleveland Browns.

The New-Look Offense

New offensive coordinator Norv Turner and new head coach Rob Chudzinski appear to be the jolt the young team needs. Despite the concerns of running back Trent Richardson's health, wide receiver Josh Gordon's off-field habits and quarterback Brandon Weeden's abilities, there is hope. There's always hope. But this feels different, no? Chudzinski and Turner have a successful track record and you have to expect they will get the most out of this group, but more importantly, it can't get worse than the bungling Pat Shurmur Show of the last two seasons.

The Browns aren't expected to unload the playbook Thursday night, but it will be interesting to see just how far the offensive players have come in digesting this new offense.

The New-Look Defense

Are we calling him Barkevious or KikI? I like Barkevious, better. Sounds cooler to me. But, really, I just don't want to call him a bust.

He's lean, quick and kind of a defensive end/linebacker hybrid. He is one of the many new additions to the new 3-4 defense. Defensive coordinator and Xzibit's older brother, Ray Horton, wants to play "aggressive." How aggressive the Browns defense will be on Thursday night is questionable. What is for sure is the display of speed on this revamped defense. Mingo, Paul Kruger, Desmond Bryant were all new additions and they all are faster than what we've known from Browns' defenders in the past. That alone will be fun to see, even if the defense is vanilla.

Sensing a theme?

Yes, the Browns are undergoing a lot of change. That is nothing new. But with change brings that hope. Hope this team will rise up from the suckitude of 5-11 season and at least be 8-8 average.

Finally…

Weekly Owen Marecic Watch

The fullback everyone continues, not to hate - that's too strong of word - but marvel at the fact that he is still employed in the National Football League by your Cleveland Browns.

The first installment of the Weekly Owen Marecic Watch provides us some good news-bad news.

First, the bad news: He's still on the team.

Now, the good news: As it stands entering the first preseason game, Marecic is still a Cleveland Brown, but, thankfully and correctly, he's listed as the No. 2 fullback behind Chris Ogbonnaya.

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