by Randy Gurzi 3-4 minutes
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Trent Williams #71 of the Washington Redskins enters the field to take on the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
The one thing that can derail the Cleveland Browns hype train this season is their offensive line. But do they have some options as they enter the 2019 season?
Beware the preseason. Every year, there are huge overreactions to things that go wrong during these games, as well as overreactions to some things that go right. The Cleveland Browns understand this as they were victims of a 4-0 record in the exhibition games in 2017, which we all know led to a 0-16 regular season.
That doesn’t mean everything about the preseason should be brushed off. For example, the Browns have a real problem on their offensive line and it was exposed on Friday as they were pushed around by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the ‘dress rehearsal’ game.
Outside of Joel Bitonio, no one really seemed to hold their own, and Baker Mayfield really had to spend the majority of his time on the field moving around looking for a clean enough spot in the pocket to get off a throw.
Center J.C. Tretter has been playing injured, so he shouldn’t be beaten up too bad but he had his struggles in this one. However, he was still much better than the other three starters. Right guard Eric Kush was overwhelmed and both tackles — Greg Robinson and Chris Hubbard — failed to hold off the edge rushers.
After that game, it’s safe to say there needs to be some serious discussion made about addressing the line. While they need to be actively scouring the waiver wires as cuts are made, the Browns would also be wise to make some calls before then to teams who have some available players.
They could also look to add some players who have either not lived up to draft status or are on their final season. One example could be Forrest Lamp of the Los Angeles Chargers. A second-round pick in 2017, Lamp has yet to start a game and has only appeared in two. A former highly-touted interior lineman, Lamp could flourish with a new start and might be affordable via trade due to his inability to crack the Bolts lineup.
As for the player on an expiring deal, Cleveland could be to call the Dallas Cowboys about La’el Collins. They need to clear space to sign several key players and moving Collins could help in that regard. They already have Cam Fleming available to replace him so they could be willing to deal.
Collins could help at either tackle or guard as he’s done both in his career and is an upgrade at either right guard or right tackle for the Browns.
There’s also the possibility of making a big splash by trading for Trent Williams. The Redskins blindside protector has been rumored to be on the move all offseason and would be a great left tackle option, but he wouldn’t come cheap.
Cleveland does have some options ahead of the regular season but the question becomes whether or not they want to pay the price. Then again, with so much hope riding on the talent of their roster this season, they might not have a choice. They simply can’t let this one position cause the entire team to fall apart.
I was so disheartened when I saw how well coached and staffed that the Steelers were at OL last night compared to what I've seen and heard of the Browns OL currently. I can't believe Dorsey, Kitchens and Campden have not addressed upgrading the line after the OBJ trade which cost us losing our starting RG Kevin Zeiter without being sure we had the guy to step in to fill the void. It's going to be just a matter of time when Mayfield will be on the Injured List without having adequate protection. I've always maintained we will never catch up to the Ravens and Steelers until we can match-up with them in our interior lines execution, coaching and personnel....first and foremost. We could have 3 OBJs but, it would be of no use if our QB is lying on his ass most of the time because of no protection. I'm really disappointed in the scouting department in not finding the OL talent that it appears that we sorrily need at the tackle positions and right guard. I hope the kid Drew Forbes has a great and promising game on Thursday that would be impressive enough to move him up with the starters..............we need a diamond in the rough.
BTW, I expect the Steelers to be even better now that got rid of their big ego stars and have found young guys already to fill their places. They have no distractions and are a more cohesive team. That's what good front office talent does.............they know how to find talent and go out and get it. And, the same can be said about the Ravens, they have those great interior lines also, along with a great young QB and offense.