ATLANTA — The Cleveland Browns are set to kick off their final preseason game of the year Sunday evening, taking on the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and for the first time this preseason a select amount of starters are expected to play—including quarterback Baker Mayfield.
While head coach Kevin Stefanski declined to announce which specific starters aside from Mayfield would be playing Sunday, he did say "some select" starters would take the field as well. In an attempt to protect the franchise quarterback it's likely most if not all of the offensive line starters take the field during the series that Mayfield will play.
This game may be the determining factor for some of the fringe players working to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. Roster cuts must be completed by 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
"I think it's been such a competitive camp for these roster spots and I'm so appreciative of the way the guys have worked. Those conversations are ongoing so I think this is all part of the evaluation process," Stefanski said. "I can't tell you exactly how many spots there are but I do think these game reps are really valuable in the overall evaluation."
In the first two preseason games, the Browns kept a majority of their starters off the field in an effort to conserve their players and maintain their health ahead of the regular season. While Mayfield and some others are set to play a few series, Stefanski and his coaching staff are expected to remain conservative with their starters Sunday.
If the Falcons take the same approach as the Browns, quarterback Matt Ryan will only be on the field a few series, pitting the Browns defensive hopefuls against the likes of quarterbacks Feleipe Franks and new Falcon Josh Rosen.
The following players are not expected to play Sunday due to injury:
- S Grant Delpit (hamstring)
- CB Greedy Williams (groin)
- LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (forehead)
- CB M.J. Stewart Jr. (hamstring)
- LB Tony Fields II (foot)
- LB Sione Takitaki (hamstring)
- LB Jacob Phillips (biceps)
- G Michael Dunn (back)
The work the Browns get on Sunday will lead them into their first game of the regular season—a Week 1 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 12.
All of Sunday's action kicks off at 8 p.m.
Those in the Cleveland-area can listen to the game live on the Browns website, ESPN 850, 92.3 The Fan or 98.5 WNCX.
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