Browns Baker Mayfield, some starters to play Sunday versus Falcons

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The Cleveland Browns have been very protective of their key players so far in training camp and preseason. Very few have seen the field during the first two preseason games and many have been held out of practices at times.

It has been more notable when expected starters have played such as Andrew Billings and Troy Hill. Billings may have been playing to work himself into shape while Hill may have seen the field due to an altercation during a joint practice with the New York Giants.

With one preseason game left, then a two week break before the start of the regular season, head coach Kevin Stefanski announced that some starters would play against the Atlanta Falcons including Baker Mayfield:

It is the two weeks between the last preseason game, on August 29th, and the first regular-season game, on September 12th, that could be the biggest reason for this move. Mayfield and the offense have looked good throughout training camp but will only get to see their own defense for those two weeks.

With the majority of the starters having sat out the first two preseason games, Sunday will be their first chance to get physical in a game-type environment. Better to get that out of the way now versus against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1.

Cleveland does put their players at a higher risk of injury with this decision but have decided that risk is worth the reward of them getting live-action. It will be interesting which other starters see the field. Could Odell Beckham Jr. get a series or two coming back from his ACL injury? Most likely, the talented offensive line will be out there to protect Mayfield but what about Nick Chubb, Austin Hooper, Jarvis Landry and the rest?

The defense could benefit from time together after the overhaul that took place this offseason. Getting Jadeveon Clowney, Takk McKinley, John Johnson III and the rest of the new faces time to gel could be very helpful. We shall see who gets the chance and who continues to sit.