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Browns developments to watch on 'Monday Night Football' other than Brian Hoyer vs. Johnny Manziel

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 18, 2014

All eyes will be on veteran Brian Hoyer and rookie Johnny Manziel as they perform in the final audition Monday night before the Browns meet to pick one of them as the starting quarterback for the Sept. 7 regular-season opener at Pittsburgh.

For our quarterback-duel analysis, click here.

For other developments to watch when the Browns face Washington at 8 p.m. on ESPN's Monday Night Football, check out the list below. 

1. Rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert will make his NFL preseason debut, which was delayed by a groin injury that sidelined him Aug. 9 at Detroit. Gilbert, the eighth overall pick in this year's draft, is guaranteed to start opposite Pro Bowler Joe Haden because Buster Skrine is out with an injured thumb. "It's like a dream come true playing next to a great guy like that," Gilbert said of starting opposite Haden. "I'm pumped up. I can't wait to get out there on the field." Gilbert is the first draft pick of the coach Mike Pettine-General Manager Ray Farmer era. Gilbert's first test drive could include matchups against receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.

2. Browns coach Mike Pettine wants to see rookie running back Terrance West face Washington's starting defense. Ben Tate is a clear front-runner to secure starting running back job, but West is still in line for a major role. The more West impresses this preseason, the more carries he's likely to receive when the real games begin. Oh, and by the way, West is hyped, as evidenced by this tweet he fired out Monday afternoon: "Big stage big lights big cameras = BIG MONEY LETS GET IT "I was made for this."

3. The Browns' defense will get a tune-up against one of the most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL -- Washington's Robert Griffin III. "I think that he’s one of the better quarterbacks in this league,” Browns free safety Tashaun Gipson said. "I think anytime you’re able to go against a guy like him, you definitely want to put your best foot forward whether it’s the preseason or not. When the ones are in, it’s not preseason for us. It’s a regular game for us, and that’s how we look at it.I’m pretty sure those guys are going to look at it the same, so we definitely want to go out there and make a statement. This is a good offense. The wide receivers are loaded. The running back is a good running back, and they have a good quarterback. This definitely is going to be a good test to see how this defense will hold up against a lot of good offenses around the league."

4. The Browns' pass catchers are under the microscope, especially because the team failed to score a touchdown in the exhibition opener. An abdominal injury has made All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon questionable to play Monday night as he continues to await a decision from the NFL regarding his appeal of a drug suspension. Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron is expected to make his 2014 exhibition debut after missing the opener with a sprained AC joint. Miles Austin needs to show he can become an adequate No. 1 receiver in Gordon's absence. Meanwhile, Charles Johnson and undrafted rookies Taylor Gabriel and Willie Snead are battling for roster spots.

5. Receiver Travis Benjamin has a job secured because of his prowess as a return specialist. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said the franchise plans to use Benjamin as its primary punt and kickoff return this year. But Benjamin, who's coming back from a torn ACL he suffered last October, did not play in the preseason opener Aug. 9 at Detroit. He's expected to play Monday night and even return a kickoff, punt or both. "I think he wants to get a couple returns. I think [Tabor] has already talked about that he’ll get one or two hopefully," Pettine said. "It’s important for him."


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