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Cleveland Browns' Position Battles on Offense: Settled or Unsettled?

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Before we head into this week's third preseason game, let's take a quick stroll through each position on offense for the Cleveland Browns to decide whether the starting and backup roles are settled or unsettled. Later on, we'll cover the defensive side of the ball and special teams.

Quarterback | Settled

Head coach Mike Pettine has probably been asked about Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel a million times this offseason. How many times does he have to say that McCown is the No. 1 guy by a large margin before reporters back off? Aside from the second preseason game, McCown has had a good camp, but it's encouraging that Manziel has had a good camp as well. Manziel has dealt with elbow soreness in camp, but considering that McCown has never been a full-time starter and no Browns quarterback has played 16 games post-1999, it's only a matter of time before he gets his shot.

Running Back | Unsettled

Wilbert Montgomery's comments from a couple of weeks ago still linger over this group. While Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell have shown some good things in the past, this week, rookie Duke Johnson has a chance to showcase his X-factor talent. It's also hard to gauge whether veteran Shaun Draughn, who has been nursing an injured thumb, is liked well enough to have a spot on this team. Nobody knows who the opening day starter will be yet, and Montgomery has said that he doesn't want there to be a committee of uncertainty in the regular season like there was a year ago.

Fullback | Unsettled

We though that Malcolm Johnson was a lock for this job, since he was with the first-team offense at the beginning of camp despite being a rookie. However, Johnson has missed several weeks of action due to injury. Fellow rookie Luke Lundy has missed a couple of weeks with a concussion. E.J. Bibbs has been the star of camp among the undrafted rookie pool, but is he in the fullback mix or the tight end mix?

Wide Receiver | Mostly Settled

We know who the team's top four receivers are: Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline, Andrew Hawkins, and Taylor Gabriel. The fifth and sixth receiver slots are where things get a little unsettled. The coaches have led us to believe that Travis Benjamin is safe. After him, does rookie Vince Mayle make the team as a fourth-round pick, despite how much he's struggled? Does Terrelle Pryor still have a fighting chance after his hamstring has kept him out? What about special teams receiver Marlon Moore? Or the undrafted guys like Josh Lenz, Shane Wynn, and Darius Jennings?

Tight End | Unsettled

Gary Barnidge has received most of the first-team snaps this camp, so it's likely that he will open the season as the No. 1 tight end. However, the Browns will often utilize two tight end sets, so who is next-in-line? Rob Housler was actually supposed to be the No. 1 guy, but he's had a drop-heavy camp and is now on the bubble. E.J. Bibbs has been a stud in camp, but is it enough to be included in those two tight end sets? Everyone is assuming that Jim Dray's job is safe, but is it really?

Offensive Line | Settled

The biggest competition in camp was supposed to come along the right side of the offensive line -- a four-way battle between returning players John Greco and Mitchell Schwartz, and (basically) newcomers in Cameron Erving and Michael Bowie. In reality, there has been zero competition. Bowie has not played too well with the second-team offense and has not seen any first-team reps at right tackle. Erving is being praised as a solid sixth lineman, but has not replaced Greco on days that he hasn't had off. The other offensive line positions are settled. There are a couple of backup jobs in the air, but that's not enough to downgrade the position to "mostly settled."


What do you think, Browns fans? Are there any assessments that you disagree with?