The reason to watch tonight’s preseason game between the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns hasn’t changed. All eyes are still on the quarterback position, though tonight’s Browns game is the first with Brian Hoyer officially named the team’s starting QB. Hoyer will line up against a powerful Rams defensive line, yet Johnny Manziel will undoubtedly see reps as well. You can watch Rams vs Browns online live streaming preseason week 3 game using one of several different methods to see how it all works out.
Hoyer will get the nod as tonight’s starting QB and will likely play extended minutes with the first team. That’s not to say Manziel won’t see playing time, nor that Johnny Football won’t see reps with the starters.
Though he was named the starting QB, Hoyer hasn’t performed well throughout the preseason. He’s simply struggled less than Manziel. Through two preseason games, Hoyer has gone a combined 8-for-20 for 108 passing yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. With Hoyer at the helm, the Browns offense is just 0-for-7 on third-down conversions.
Browns coach Mike Pettine this week said a two-QB system is “on the table,” adding a perhaps-unnecessary level of intrigue to tonight’s Rams / Browns game. Considering Manziel will being playing about half the game as the Browns’ QB tonight, Pettine and fans alike will get a good idea of whether the two-quarterback scheme could work with Hoyer and Manziel.
Yet the Browns won’t rely strictly on the passing game in tonight’s Browns game. Last season the Browns led the NFL in passing attempts (681) and ranked a lowly 27th in the NFL in rushing. Through two preseason games, the Browns have attempted 68 passes and rushed the ball 57 times, showing a much more balanced attack behind halfback Ben Tate.
In fact, in the Browns Monday Night game earlier this week they ran the ball 27 times for 100 yards. Tate had more than half of those yards, rushing for 51 yards on his 10 carries. The question with Tate in this newly balanced Browns offense won’t be his role, but his durability. He’s played in just 40 of 64 regular-season games since being drafted in 2010.
The Rams defense should give Tate, Hoyer and Manziel a true test, especially with the Rams starters expecting to see extended playing time in tonight’s Browns game. Defensive end Robert Quinn, one of the NFC’s elite pass rushers, finished the 2013 season with 19 sacks. At the other defensive end is Chris Long, who through six seasons has seven forced fumbles and 50.5 sacks. Sandwiched between them are Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford, both of whom take pride in disrupting the running game.
Both the Rams and Browns are 0-2 in the preseason, so one of the two teams will walk off the field tonight with their first win. With their stout defense and a ground game anchored by Tre Mason and Zac Stacy, it could very well be the Rams.
Last season Stacy anchored the Rams’ 15th-ranked ground game with 973 yards and 7 touchdowns with an average of 3.9 yards per carry. The Cleveland defense this year could be one of the league’s best, but combination of running back Tre Mason, Stacy and QB Sam Bradford will likely be too much for the Browns’ D to handle.
Kickoff for tonight’s St. Louis Rams vs Cleveland Browns game at FirstEnergy Stadium is 8:00 pm EST. You can live-stream the Rams vs Browns game using the NFL Preseason Live service, which lets fans watch all out-of-market preseason NFL games for $19.99. If you’re an NFL Network subscriber, you can can also catch the action on the NFL Online website using your login info for your satellite or cable TV provider.