DawgTalk – What Lies Ahead for the Browns Offensive Line

Jack McCurry (JM): Alright, Anthony so the Browns are coming off the bye week and there were rumors last week that changes could be coming to the Browns offensive line. Greg Robinson declined to talk to the media so there could be a change at left tackle and there’s also been talk about a switch at right guard with Wyatt Teller for Eric Kush. 

Anthony Joki (AJ): If there was any time to make any changes, now is the time to do so. While the winds of change have been blowing around Berea, personally it is difficult to see any massive changes coming.

The Los Angeles Rams did try to trade for Joel Bitonio but that was quickly rebuffed by John Dorsey and the Browns.

The one that does make sense is Teller for Kush. When the Browns traded for Teller, there were talks that he could start right away. From week to week, Kush is showing to be more consistent than Chris Hubbard and Greg Robinson.

JM: Agreed, Kush hasn’t been a major issue and this season, you can see that Hubbard is a bigger issue because he hasn’t been able to rely on the right guard as much as he did last season with Zeitler. I’m surprised there hasn’t been more talk about Justin McCray replacing Hubbard at right tackle. 

Replacing Robinson with Kendall Lamm however would be a downgrade. If anyone watched Houston last year knows how much of an issue their offensive line was and Lamm was right there in the thick of it which is why Cleveland got him for as cheap as they did in free agency. 

AJ: You have to wonder where rookie Drew Forbes fits into all of this. Dorsey thinks very highly of him and the injury he suffered probably set back some of his plans. Now they didn’t think that they would need him this season but him being injured doesn’t allow him to be ready.

That’s the one move that will probably happen in the off-season in terms of the tackles. I can’t foresee anything happening before the trade deadline. Reports indicate that Trent Williams will not be coming to the Browns before the trade deadline.

Is there anyone else available you can the Browns going after for any position on the offensive line?

JM: Well as for Forbes, we’ll soon see what their plan is because he’ll be eligible to be activated off injured reserve in the next few weeks. I know the team is high on him but do they truly think he can make an impact this season? 

When it comes to the trade deadline, I can’t seem to find any viable options out there. I’m sure John Dorsey will continue to talk with the Redskins about Trent Williams but it’s clear that Bruce Allen and Daniel Snyder will not come down from their stance until the off-season.

I know we talked privately about Atlanta’s Jake Matthews and maybe even Alex Mack considering the Falcons are entering “salary cap hell” but those seem like pipe dreams so unfortunately I think the Browns have to roll with what they have unless there’s a hidden gem on a practice squad somewhere. 

AJ: A trade seems very unlikely at this point so now you are looking at going with what you have at this point. And because there won’t be much free agency wise, especially with needing to lock up JC Tretter, the draft becomes important.

To me, that is the smart move especially when it comes to the salary cap. Like Tretter, there are other players the Browns will be needing to extend this offseason. So the big question here is how do the Browns make this work with what they have?

JM: Well hopefully Coach Kitchens, Coach Monken and Coach Campen have been discussing that for the last week. Something needs to be fixed whether it’s personnel wise or scheme wise. 

We saw it last year following the bye week, the Browns made the switch from Desmond Harrison to Greg Robinson at left tackle but they also changed the offensive scheme to where Baker was able to get the ball out quicker and spread it around. 

We’ve seen glimpses of it through the first six games but they also get away from it and that’s when the momentum gets stalled. 

The Browns are talented enough to win and I think they know it. Now we just have to see if they’ve made their adjustments needed to be able to turn this season around. 

AJ: On paper, they match up with anybody. You’re right in the fact that this falls on the coaching staff.

While this Browns teams does not have all of the pieces yet, going into New England on Sunday this team should be fully operational on offense, minus David Njoku who is on IR and Kareem Hunt who is still suspended.

JM: Yes, the Browns are starting to get back to full strength and it couldn’t come at a better time defensively. Getting both Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams back will be a shot in the arm for not only the secondary but the entire defense who has regressed during the last few games. 

The one thing I’m worried about is the run defense which has given up a lot of yardage the last three games and I think that’s on the linebackers. With the loss of Christian Kirksey, Joe Schobert has had to increase his load and Mack Wilson is having to learn on the fly. You would like to hope that Sione Takitaki could get out there or maybe even Genard Avery who is clearly on the coaching staff’s bad side but they’re continuing to play Adarius Taylor who is just not a starter. 

AJ: It will be a great to have those two back this week. This team has faced so much adversity in the early part of the season and it is either going to pull this team together or completely break this team.

This coming Sunday, the Browns head into New England to face the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots being 10.5 point underdogs as of this writing.

The underdog role has always suited the Browns and City of Cleveland over the years and for the rest of this season, that is what they will be as they look to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

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