The city of Cleveland has suffered a lot of embarrassment over the years: that time they set the river on fire, the Mistake By the Lake, The Drive, The Drive II, Tim Couch, Barkeivous Mingo … and let’s not forget about Johnny Manziel!
But even the Browns didn’t blow a second-round draft pick on a kicker who suddenly can’t kick.
Much to their chagrin, the storyline of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this preseason has been the tale of Roberto “Automatic” Aguayo. Florida State’s three-time All-American quarterback, Aguayo was taken in the second round by the Bucs in May’s draft.
He’s missed two field goals and an extra point so far this preseason and will be the most watched player on the field Saturday.
What: Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Friday, August 26, 8 p.m. ET
Last Week/This Week
The Cleveland Browns lost to the Atlanta Falcons 24-13 last week. They close out the pre-season next week when they host the Chicago Bears on Thursday, September 1 at 8 p.m. ET. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-21 last week. They will host the Washington Redskins next Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Cleveland Browns Preview
The triumphant return of Josh Gordon comes at last on Saturday for the Cleveland Browns as the take on Tampa Bay. First-round draft pick Corey Coleman, also a receiver, will see his first action as well. That means that for the first time since signing with the Browns, quarterback Robert Griffin III will have the men who appear to be his top two targets entering the 2016 season.
Coleman started training camp in fine form, but a hamstring injury saw him miss the first two preseason games.
“We took it slow easing me back in, but now I’m full speed, full go,” Coleman said.
Griffin sounded particularly ready to play alongside Gordon for the first time.
“Josh if you look at him, he’s a physical specimen,” Griffin said. “It’s fun to see him go out there, a man that big, that strong, that fast, and play wide receiver. So … it’s incredible.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview
R.C. Slocum, famous Texas A&M football coach, once said of kickers. “If they are the first thing you talk about at a press conference, they’re either great or they’re horrible.”
Tampa Bay’s Roberto Aguayo is certainly not horrible, he’s yet to play a regular season gae for the Bucs. But he’s definitely not doing great either, missing an extra point and two field goals in his first two games as the team’s kicker.
The team’s bigger problem is injuries, including Ali Marpet, their starting right guard, who came to practice in a walking boot on Wednesday. Left guard J.R. Sweezy has missed the entire training camp, which means the Bucs are down to 3/5 of their starting line.
The only good news on the offensive line was that rookie Caleb Benenoch was able to play Wednesday after missing nearly a month with an ankle injury.
“He got a few reps today. This was his first day in a long time, so from going from being out as much as he has to playing in a game,” said head coach Dirk Koetter.
The Bucs are set with their own “Big Three” of offensive talent in quarterback Jameis Winston, running back Doug Martin, and wide receiver Mike Evans. Winston was the team’s biggest question mark coming into last year, but his numbers were fantastic for a rookie. He threw for 4,042 yards and 22 touchdowns against just 15 interceptions. While the Bucs’ only won six games, he showed great progression as the season went along, rushing for six touchdowns as well, but not trying to do too much.
Martin had an enormous bounce-back year and finished second in the league in rushing with 1,402 yards; 83 behind Adrian Peterson. Martin’s low number was touchdowns, he only had six. That was par for the course for the Bucs, however. Tampa had difficulty scoring in 2015 overall. Martin’s prowess made former starter Bobby Rainey expendable. He wound up with the New York Giants.
Mike Evans had another big year at wide receiver. He caught 74 passes for 1,206 yards and three touchdowns. In the battle of Texas A&M No. 1 draft picks, the Bucs have the Browns number.
Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Predictions
The Browns are actually more put together than the Bucs for this game, and that’s saying a lot. Cleveland is probably going to come out very hyped up for this contest with its receiving corps intact for the first time and will likely abandon the run early to throw lots of deep balls. The Bucs are weak at offensive line despite having the skill position advantage. And Cleveland has the special teams advantage until Aguayo can show something.
Line: Tampa Bay -3.5
Score Prediction: Cleveland Browns 17, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13