Spencer Drango cannot and will not be as effective at left tackle as Joe Thomas has been throughout his career when he lines up at the position Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
To ask that or expect that is unfair to Drango.
But at a certain point in life, a man’s pride should help him rise to the occasion, to at least give himself and his team a fighter’s chance. This is one of those times.
Following Friday’s practice, Vikings star defensive end Everson Griffen disrespected the young offensive lineman in an interview in the days leading up to his team’s London matchup with the Browns.
“He’s a guy who should be playing guard,” Griffen said, per Star Tribune’s Mark Craig. “He’s a little slower, so I’m going to use my gift, which is my get-off and my speed and go out and help my team win.”
Griffen said he has repeatedly studied Drango’s brief appearance last week against Tennessee to try to establish his tendencies, and that he’s upset he won’t be facing Thomas this week.
“He’s one of the best, and I like going up against the best because that’s where you make a big name for yourself.”
Whether or not Griffen’s right about Drango’s prospects at left tackle, which admittedly aren’t great, is irrelevant. That he’s talking about being disappointed about not facing Thomas and is calling his opponent slow goes to show you where his head’s at ahead of their Sunday matchup.
Drango, meanwhile, has the unenviable task of not only replacing Thomas, but doing it against one of the best in the business. Griffen can be a nightmare, even for Thomas.
This little bit of “bulletin-board material,” though, will hopefully be enough to spark something inside Drango to get the very best out of him.
And if it doesn’t, let’s hope Hue Jackson has some kind of game plan to help neutralize Griffen in other ways. But judging by the overall effectiveness of the Browns offense so far this season, even with Thomas, it’s hard to think that’s a real likelihood.