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NFL Preseason Preview - Chicago (2-1) at Cleveland (2-1)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - If the Cleveland Browns are truly thinking about trading Colt McCoy, they'll have the chance to showcase the demoted quarterback to any interested parties in Thursday's preseason finale with the visiting Chicago Bears.
McCoy, the starting signal-caller for 21 of the Browns' last 27 games over the past two seasons, was relegated to second-string duties once the team selected Oklahoma State gunslinger Brandon Weeden in the first round of April's draft. Weeden's immediate installment as Cleveland's new field general created a flurry of training-camp buzz that the team could look to deal McCoy, as there's already an experienced veteran in place in Seneca Wallace.
Head coach Pat Shurmur said earlier in the week that Weeden won't be participating in Thursday's contest to focus solely on Cleveland's regular- season opener against Philadelphia, with McCoy to draw the start against the Bears.
McCoy has been sharp in his limited opportunities this preseason, having completed an excellent 75 percent (18-of-24) of his throws for 234 yards and one touchdown without an interception. Weeden, meanwhile, has exhibited a few growing pains along the way, with the 28-year-old former minor league pitcher having hit on just 49 percent (24-of-49) of his attempts for 297 yards and no touchdowns and one interception.
Weeden was mostly off the mark in last Friday's preseason matchup with the Eagles, going 9-of-20 for 117 yards and losing a fumble in the Browns' 27-10 loss. The offense managed only a field goal on the seven drives he directed.
Another member of Cleveland's 2012 draft class did make a positive impression in last week's defeat, with wide receiver Josh Gordon recording a game-high 50 yards on three catches. The second-round supplemental choice could be ticketed for a prominent role on the Browns' new-look offense.
Cleveland won't have its most prized rookie available for another week, however, with running back Trent Richardson still on the mend from a recent knee scope that's kept him out all of the preseason. The team does tentatively expect the No. 3 overall draft pick to be ready for the Sept. 9 clash with the Eagles.
Odds are that Bears head coach Lovie Smith will follow Shurmur's lead and rest the majority of his starters for Thursday's tilt as well. Quarterback Jay Cutler did not play at all in last year's preseason ender against the Browns, with standouts such as running back Matt Forte, linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, defensive end Julius Peppers and cornerback Charles Tillman also held out of that game.
Urlacher is certain not to be active this week with the perennial Pro Bowler still dealing with a lingering knee problem that has placed his availability for the Bears' Week 1 home encounter with Indianapolis in question.
Cutler is coming off a subpar performance in Chicago's 20-17 triumph over the New York Giants last Friday, however, completing only 9-of-21 passes for 96 yards despite working into the third quarter. He did find big-ticket offseason acquisition Brandon Marshall for a 21-yard touchdown, though, one of five catches totaling 51 yards for the talented ex-Miami Dolphin.
Safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and punter Adam Podlesh (hip) also won't play for the Bears, who made a surprising roster cut prior to the Giants game by waiving reserve running back Kahlil Bell. His release sets up a battle between journeyman Lorenzo Booker and second-year pro Armando Allen to be the No. 3 man on the depth chart that will be decided on Thursday.
These teams will be closing out the preseason for the ninth consecutive year, with the Bears taking three of the last four meetings in the series following last year's 24-14 home decision. The Browns posted a 13-10 win in Cleveland the previous preseason and own a 17-10 advantage in the overall set.
08/29 11:51:57 ET
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