CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns are planning on taking full advantage of their “dress rehearsal” preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium tonight.
With a new quarterback, rookie DeShone Kizer, at the helm of the offense after Brock Osweiler started the first two preseason games, the Browns are planning to give the first-teamers plenty of work against the Buccaneers.
“I want the first groups to play a little longer,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “This is our dress rehearsal game, so we definitely need to. Definitely play probably through the first half, and then, we will evaluate at halftime and see where everybody is and kind of go from there.”
Rather than just wanting his players to go through a halftime and come out of the locker room to run a series after game-planning for a second half, part of that evaluation period will be the amount of plays the Browns get on offense during the first half against the Buccaneers.
“I think it is the number of plays we have played in the game and how we are playing per say and those things more so than having to come back out after half,” Jackson said. “I think a lot of our guys have done that. I think that part I don’t really fall into.”
In two preseason games, Kizer has completed 19 of his 31 attempts for 258 yards with one passing touchdown, a rushing score and four drives that ended in points for the Browns, which was starkly different from the other quarterbacks on the roster.
Kizer completed 10 passes for first downs, four 20-yard plays and two 40-yard throws.
Although Kizer has the least amount of experience of anybody in the Browns’ quarterback room, he will not stay in the game longer than the other starters just to get him more time on the field.
“He is going to play with his unit,” Jackson said. “If things are going well, we will take him out. If not, then we will let him play a little bit longer. That is probably the fun part for me about it. I get to make the call on that after halftime. If we need to play more, we will, and if we don’t, we won’t.”
In addition to getting Kizer more experience with the first-team offense, Jackson wants to use the Tampa Bay game as an opportunity to evaluate other players in position battles.
“I think just the pecking order at receiver, looking at our secondary, who is going to be the backups to the guys who are starters?” Jackson said. “I think the rotation of the defensive line, how that happens and how that works. We have a new body in here that we need to see in Brandon Thompson.
“Then, how is the tight end situation going to unfold? It was good to see David (Njoku) play last week, but that was new for David. That was his first time, so he needs to take a jump this week as we play down in Tampa.”