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Browns-Redskins preview: Five things to watch

The league's hottest quarterback duel resumes Monday night as Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer lead the Cleveland Browns into action against the Washington Redskins.

Here's what we'll be watching in tonight's prime-time tilt:

  1. We didn't learn much from either Browns passer against the Lions, but both Hoyer and Manziel are set to see snaps with the ones this time around. With coach Mike Pettine expected to name his Week 1 quarterback as early as Tuesday, the onus is on Johnny Football to put on a show against Washington's defense. We know the first-round pick can make plays with his feet, but we also want to see Manziel roll through his progressions and guide Cleveland's offense from the pocket.
  1. Hoyer is mistakenly touted as an experienced veteran, but he's started the same amount of games (four) as Kirk Cousins. We'll be watching his ball placement on Monday night after Hoyer -- coming off ACL surgery -- sailed a pair of passes high against Detroit. Both quarterbacks could use more help from a bland cast of Browns pass-catchers who dropped too many targets last week.
  1. Across the way, Robert Griffin III will be tested against Cleveland's strong-on-paper defense, especially with Joe Haden manning the secondary. Pettine's scheme requires two press corners to shut down the air game, so we'll also get a long look at rookie cover man Justin Gilbert. We want to see how Washington attacks this unit with one of the league's deepest group of wideouts, led by Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts -- and don't forget about "Making the Leap" tight end Jordan Reed.
  1. The Redskins' defense has the advantage of knowing Kyle Shanahan's offense up and down. The Browns play-caller is likely to keep it vanilla tonight, meaning plenty of ground work for Ben Tate and rookie Terrance West. It's an underrated camp battle, considering how heavily Cleveland will lean on the run if Josh Gordon is ultimately shipped into the wilderness with a long suspension.
  1. As for Washington's backfield, Alfred Morris is your unquestioned starter, but the competition is on to decide the team's change-of-pace back. Coach Jay Gruden told reporters that he's "most confident" in Roy Helu holding the role, but we aren't ruling out intriguing rookie Lache Seastrunk after what we saw in his preseason debut. Griffin's former Baylor teammate flashed freaky speed and moves on the ground and will angle to repeat that tonight.

The latest "Around the League Podcast" talks quarterback battles and debates the gang's preseason power rankings.

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