The Cleveland Browns welcome the Chicago Bears for the final game of the preseason on Thursday, with the Browns especially hoping to bounce back from an underwhelming performance in their last contest.
Cleveland managed just 13 total first downs and once again saw starting quarterback Brandon Weeden struggle to move the offense, going just 12-of-25 for 105 yards in over a half of action against the Colts. The Bears, meanwhile, look primed and ready to start the season after scoring 27 points in the first half against Oakland last week.
Meet the Browns
The Cleveland Browns will rest their starters on Thursday, like most teams in the final game of the preseason, yet there's concern that the offense still needs work with Weeden under center. Jason Campbell will get the start, with Brian Hoyer likely getting extended action as well.
There are a few players expected to play that will be starters this season, including receiver Josh Gordon and right guard Oniel Cousins. Gordon is looking at a two-game suspension to start the season and needs the time on the field, and Cousins is still learning the nuances of being a starter on the offensive line.
Meet the Bears
The Chicago Bears are finishing up the first preseason under new coach Marc Trestman, who is expected to further expand the talented offense with Jay Cutler under center. This is Cutler's fifth offensive coordinator in six years and he seems to have found the right coaching staff with which he finally connect with and work together with at maximizing his extensive talent.
The veteran quarterback is supposed to be targeting receiver Brandon Marshall this season, a year after the volatile receiver caught over 100 passes and 1,500 yards in his first season in Chicago. Marshall is dealing with a lingering hip issue, undergoing the third hip surgery of his career this past offseason, and has been given a leave of absence from the team until Sunday.
Local Takes: Browns
Chris Pokorny at Dawgs By Nature takes a look at the backup quarterback situation, with Brian Hoyer possibly seeing extended action.
At quarterback Jason Campbell will get the start, with Brandon Weeden having the final preseason game off for the second year in a row. That didn't work so well for him last year by the time the opener against Philly came. Brian Hoyer should see plenty of reps against the Bears to.
Local Takes: Bears
Lester A. Wiltfong, Jr. of Windy City Gridiron examines the issue of attempting to trade Earl Bennett with the season just around the corner:
The Earl Bennett situation is a complicated one. Adam Schefter tweeted that the Bears are trying to trade the former Vanderbilt wide receiver.
It's tough to make trades this time of year, with so many cuts looming, but with Bennett not playing because of concussion symptoms, it makes it even harder.
This could just be Phil Emery doing his due diligence by testing the market, or this could mean the Bears are real happy with rookie Marquess Wilson.
Follow the Fun
Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Dawgs By Nature and Windy City Gridiron, for more analysis and highlights from the game.
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
All of this talk about Brandon Marshall not yet settling into new #Bears offense is silly. Snap the ball. Cutler will find him.— Dane Noble (@WindyCGridiron) August 28, 2013
@MaryKayCabot - Browns beat reporter
@BradBiggs- Bears beat reporter
In regards to #Bears WR Earl Bennett, his base salary for '13 is $2.25 million with $1.5 guaranteed vs. injury only.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) August 28, 2013
The Bears are favorites, according to OddsShark.com.