Few have more room to talk about offensive lines than LeCharles Bentley.
The former Wildcat, Buckeye, Saint, and Brown has learned plenty in his time, evaluating and training offensive linemen through his business, O-Line Performance.
The former NFL offensive lineman recently spoke with the Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima, diving into the Browns’ offensive line situation.
You can listen to the full interview here, but here are the three most interesting tidbits:
1. Offensive linemen are becoming harder to find.
Bentley spoke at the beginning of the interview about the development of offensive linemen.
Seeing as it’s currently his job to mold the next generations of linemen, Bentley’s opinion holds some weight.
Bentley said the focus today is on an offensive lineman becoming bigger and stronger. Teaching technique is not the focus anymore, and not emphasized enough.
Thank goodness for Bentley, right? The Browns could use another couple linemen.
2. The Browns’ problem is consistency.
Breaking news: The Browns are not consistent.
Bentley is certainly not the first to make this argument. However, his argument is one of the best. And his solution is even more intriguing.
“When the hell are we going to have an established level of consistency? I think the biggest element at this point and time is accountability. Holding everyone accountable and not accepting and adopting a mediocre mindset. That’s what the fans have to guard themselves from is we’ve always, being a Cleveland, been supportive of the home town team and trusted everyone who’s come around to turn things around and re-establish what we had in the past.
“Sometimes we can get away from the fact that fans in Cleveland aren’t stupid people. Let’s be honest. We understand football, we understand what it is to be successful. We’re hard working, blue collar-type people, they understand what it is to put in a full day’s work. So I think sometimes we get a little too far outside the scope of relying on our own natural instincts who don’t have a dog in the fight whether the Browns are good or not. Because at the end of the day, they’re going to collect their checks, move onto the next team, and keep on collecting checks.”
“Don’t get away get away holding everyone accountable to success. Don’t buy into, ‘Trust the process. Nah, [sic] that, you have to go out and perform, and if people aren’t out there performing their job at that highest level in the world, then maybe it’s time for fans to pull back and say, ‘You know what, until you get this figured out, we won’t give you our money.’ ... Some people might say that’s a bit radical, but at the end of the day, if you keep doing the same things over and over again and keep getting the same results, I think it’s time for everyone to take a step back and look at this thing from a wider perspective.”
3. The Browns’ offensive line isn’t all that bad.
Anywhere else, the headline here is Bentley’s statement at the end, “If you want good offensive line play, get a good quarterback.” That’s a juicy quote, and an interesting one at that.
But Bentley’s full analysis of the offensive line is well worth the read.
“They are not as respected as they should be. Joe Thomas is one of the best to ever do it. Bitonio is obviously hurt and has been hurt this year. But when he’s in, he’s a solid football player. [John] Greco, let’s be honest, in my humble opinion is one of the most underrated offensive linemen in the NFL. He’s a solid football player that I don’t think many other teams would mind taking him on and being OK with what he is as a player.
“At right tackle, with [Austin] Pasztor, I’m not sure what anyone was thinking with that. He wasn’t ready, he was thrust into a situation where he wasn’t going to be at the level of [Mitchell] Schwartz or above that, he couldn’t win from an analysis standpoint because there’s so much of a dropoff there. His lack of performance was so glaring.
“Then you get to your center, where one thing you can’t take away from Cam Erving is that he plays hard ... But the problem in the NFL is no one is paid to play hard, they’re paid to play well. And that’s one area that’s he’s been lacking — consistency. There’s some things when you look at him as a player and his growth as a player, you have to wonder when and if that’s all going to come to fruition. But as I said, give him respect, but you have to start transforming that into consistency.”
As Bentley hinted at, the Browns still need to draft or sign another offensive lineman or two in free agency. But the Browns have the makings of a good line, if they can establish some level of consistency.
Easier said than done, I suppose.