Browns Pre Game Blog: Position Battles

By Will Burge

The fourth and final preseason game tends to be about as exciting as watching the grass grow at Cleveland Browns Stadium. If you know what to watch for, however, there is plenty of good action to take in.

In the midst of sloppy football, poor blocking, and celebrations by guys who won’t have a job in three days…there are some good things, at least from an individual perspective.

Here are some of the key position battles to watch tonight. The performance of these gentlemen could be the difference between an NFL roster spot and looking for a new line of work.


#39 Quinn Porter vs. #35 Armond Smith

RB Quinn Porter

The Browns are currently stuck between a rock and a hard place. Brandon Jackson’s turf toe injury that ISN’T bad enough to need surgery but IS bad enough to need a cast leaves the team wondering when he will return. They will most likely need to bring in another running back once other teams trim down their rosters, but there may still be one roster spot open.

That’s where Smith and Porter come in. Fans have raved about Armond Smith and his burst out of the backfield. They loved his 81 yard TD run against the Lions late in the ball game. The coaches, however, did not love his two fumbles. Smith has that “big play” capability as he showed Monday in practice catching a 65+ yard TD pass from 3rd string quarterback Jarrett Brown.

Porter has been much more steady and consistent, though. He has not turned the ball over as often as Smith, and seems to be a safer bet. Unfortunately, Porter has done little to separate himself from the crowd. This will come down to safe vs. spicy, assuming there is a roster spot available for one of these two.


#53 Brian Smith vs. #57 Eric Gordon vs. #95 Steve Octavien

There is little doubt that the Browns will be searching the scrap heaps to see what linebackers become available after roster cuts. They will probably keep seven linebackers on the roster for the regular season, so that leaves two open spots after Fujita, Gocong, Jackson, Brown, and Maiava. One of those will most likely be filled from the outside, but the other will come from this battle.

Brian Smith is the rookie out of Notre Dame, and he seems to be the guy the coaches are most high on. He is listed as second on the depth chart behind Scott Fujita and has the inside track to make the squad. Coaches love his speed and quick reaction time. He has the best numbers of the three in the preseason with a sack and a forced fumble.

Gordon is third on the depth chart currently, but with the injury to Chris Gocong they may need to keep him around. He has had four tackles in the pre-season.

Finally, the long shot…Steve Octavien. The second year guy out of Nebraska has shown flashes but most likely not enough to make the team.


#18 Carlton Mitchell vs. #88 Demetrius Williams

This is the most interesting battle tonight. Mitchell has not been healthy, and thus the coaches really don’t know what they have in him. Coming into camp many thought he could challenge for a starting position, but after finger surgery and a knee injury that kept him out of the preseason he is in danger of being cut.

Williams, on the other hand, is a six year veteran out of Oregon who has been very consistent in camp. He had three catches for 32 yards, including a nice 21 yard reception against the Packers, but has not had a catch since.

Thus, the question of the night: Do you keep the young guy with talent and no experience, or the veteran who knows the system, but has not excelled since week one of the preseason? We will know the answer to this and many other questions Saturday when roster cuts are made.

*Follow @WillBurge on twitter for breaking Browns news, analysis, and slightly witty banter*


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