Browns coach Rob Chudzinski decided it wasn't worth the risk to expose the majority of his starters to the chance of injury against the Bears in the preseason finale Thursday.
Chudzinski didn't have a press briefing Wednesday but informed the media through a team spokesman that most of the starters will not play against Chicago, including quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson.
However, Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin and right guard Oniel Cousins will start on offense, while Billy Winn and Quentin Groves will start on defense.
Chudzinski said Cousins needs more time at guard, but he is the leading candidate to open the season at right guard in place of Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao, who are both sidelined with ankle injuries.
“(Cousins) has the edge right now," Chudzinski said Tuesday. "I have been pleased with how quickly he has made the transition. It’s not been perfect by any means, and he is still working and still need to continue to work, but it has been relatively smooth.”
in addition, newly acquired punter/kicker Colton Schmidt will alternate the punting duties with Spencer Lanning. Schmidt will also be the holder for field goals and PATs, while handling the kickoff duties. Schmidt was released by the 49ers in roster cuts earlier this week.
Chudzinski said the majority of the players who will play against the Bears are fighting for roster spots as the Browns have to pare the roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday.
“For the most part, the guys that are going to play and get significant amount of time in that game are going to be guys that we really want to look at and give them the opportunity to play three quarters in that game and get a chance to see them.”
Mingo Update: LB Barkevious Mingo continues his improvement from a bruised lung as the Browns reported that Mingo took part in a weight room workout Wednesday morning. Mingo did some running before practice on Tuesday and has been on the stationary bike for the past week. His return to the field is still uncertain.