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Rams vs. Browns: 5 things to watch

Rams vs. Browns: 5 things to watch

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Five key things to watch tonight when the Rams play at Cleveland (7 p.m., KTVI Channel 2 locally):

1. BOMBS AWAY?

Maybe. Maybe not. When it comes to the playbook, most coaches don’t like to show much in the preseason. It’s always a balancing act between getting in needed work against another team and preserving the element of surprise for games at the start of the regular season. What you see tonight won’t necessarily be what you get on Sept. 8 against Arizona.

2. HELLO, TAVON

He has looked every bit worth the trade-up to No. 8 overall on the practice field at Rams Park. Now Tavon Austin — and the rest of the draft class of 2013, for that matter — get to go against enemy competition. It will be interesting to see how many ways Austin is used against the Browns. Receiver? Certainly. Returns? Probably. Running back? Stay tuned.

3. ON GUARD

The only starting position up for grabs on the offensive line is left guard, where Chris Williams and Shelley Smith have been alternating with the first unit. Williams is expected to start tonight, and may play a little longer than the other starters because the Rams want to look at Smith some at right guard once Harvey Dahl calls it a night.

4. RODGER THAT

Don’t be surprised if Rodger Saffold is on the field longer than the other starters, too. This marks Saffold’s first game action at right tackle since the acquisition of left tackle Jake Long via free agency. The coaching staff wants to give Saffold a little extra time on the field as he gets acclimated to doing everything “righthanded” on the line.

5. SAFETY FIRST

Darian Stewart is healthy at free safety; rookie T.J. McDonald has been a quick study so far at strong safety. The new tandem takes its first test ride tonight. With the exception of running back, this position has less experience than any unit on the roster. With Matt Giordano out with a calf injury, undrafted rookie Cody Davis figures to get lots of work.

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