LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears got the balance they sought on offense last week. Now, their starters are getting a breather.
Don't expect to see Chicago's top stars on the field during Thursday night's final preseason game against Cleveland.
Their dress rehearsal for the opener against Cincinnati on Sept. 8 came last week, when they dominated Oakland in the first half. Now, Jay Cutler gets a breather. So does Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte, along with every other star on both sides of the ball.
For the Browns, the top players might get a few snaps, and that would be just fine with quarterback Brandon Weeden.
"If that's what (coach Rob Chudzinski) wants to do, absolutely," Weeden said. "I'm a creature of habit and I like to prepare and I like to not take a ton of time off and skip anything that I normally do, but if that's what he wants to do then absolutely, I'm all for it."
The Browns believe they are finally headed in the right direction and poised to take a big step forward after five straight seasons with at least 11 losses.
They hired Chudzinski and brought in Norv Turner as offensive coordinator. They inherited a team with a second-year quarterback in Weeden who has all the tools to succeed, but it hasn't been the smoothest run so far.
They lost running back Dion Lewis to a broken leg. He went down against Detroit on Aug. 15 and was placed on injured reserve, a big blow to their backfield. He was expected to play on third down and as a change of pace for starter Trent Richardson.
Meanwhile, Weeden and the first-team offense struggled in last week's 27-6 loss to the Colts, raising anxiety among fans with the opener against Miami approaching.
Weeden was off-target after impressive showings in the first two weeks, missing easy throws and forcing passes. There were drops, critical penalties and a failure by the Browns to score on their first seven possessions. They looked like a team that needed more work, and they might get it on Thursday.
The Bears' starters appear ready, dominating Oakland in the first half after struggling the previous week against San Diego.
Cutler spread the ball around, with Alshon Jeffery finishing with seven receptions for 77 yards after all five passes went Marshall's way in the Chargers game.