Preseason football games give coaches a chance to evaluate players and test new systems without the concern of losing.
Browns coach Eric Mangini will get his first chance to judge players under game conditions tonight against the Green Bay Packers, but he might not be able to experiment with game-planning as much as he would in some preseason games because the teams will meet in the regular season. In fact, three of the four preseason foes - the Packers, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears - are on the schedule.
Browns quarterback Derek Anderson said that he expects a plain game plan for tonight's game. That doesn't mean Mangini won't be able to accomplish some of his goals.
"I've had radically different experiences with this. Where I've played them all, and beat them all, and I played them all, and lost to them all," Mangini said of facing regular-season opponents in the preseason. "You like to think there's one formula for that, but there really isn't.
"I think there's value, because the players get an exposure to who's on the roster. It's an expanded roster, but who the core guys are, what the core concepts are. How do you play a West Coast offense? How do you play a team that's a stretch team?"
The quarterback competition continues to dominate roster talk, as it will until Mangini decides between Anderson or Brady Quinn. Neither has done enough to pull away from the other, which can be viewed as a positive or a negative.
The quarterbacks were inconsistent in the earlier stages of training camp, but both seemed to settle into a comfort zone after the scrimmage last Sunday. Quinn, who was errant on several short passes at the start of camp, seems to be zeroing in on targets with more accuracy.
"I see it as they're switching," Mangini said. "One guy may have an outstanding period. I think D.A. had a really nice rack at the end of practice (Wednesday). Brady has done the same things at different points, where a guy gets on, gets hot, gets the right plays and he's firing."
The starters are expected to play the first quarter and perhaps into the second, depending on the amount of time they're on the field. There are several other areas worth watching as the roster begins to take shape.
Here are a few: