New Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter was a guest of Nathan Zegura and Matt Wilhelm on Monday’s Cleveland Browns Daily radio program, and there was one thing he repeatedly emphasized: Communication.
That’s certainly an important piece of the puzzle the veteran, who spent the last three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, needs to master early. Tretter isn’t the only new face on Cleveland’s offensive line; beside himself, right guard Kevin Zeitler is another 2017 free agent signing expected to start this year, and left guard Joel Bitonio is returning from a foot injury that cost him 11 games a season ago.
Tretter defined the team’s OTA periods thus far as “getting on the same page, communication-wise,” with his fellow offensive lineman, adding that “we try [as a group] to meet as much as we can after practice. We go and watch the film ourselves and talk through our calls. So much of the game on the offensive line is communication... When you come into a new team, you really want to get on the same page with everyone who is there.”
In that sense, Tretter defines the new-look offensive line as a “glass half-full,” because of the many new players along it, but again, he stressed, “Once you get the communication down, you’re all set.”
Communication was another theme when Tretter was asked about the quarterback battle expected to play out in one form or another this summer between Cody Kessler, DeShone Kizer, Brock Osweiler and perhaps even Kevin Hogan. He emphasized that there is essentially no difference who serves as the Browns’ quarterback this year, adding that the job of the offensive line “is to block forever... and keep the quarterback clean.”
Still, Tretter “[tries] to talk to each and every one” of the Browns’ quarterbacks, because, again, communication is key. “You’re going to work with all of them throughout the year, make sure they’re all on the same page and you’re on the same page with them... everything else works itself out.”
What Tretter is looking most forward to is the refocused emphasis on the run game behind Isaiah Crowell. Tretter said that “every offensive lineman likes to hear,” from his coaches that the plan for the upcoming season is running the ball more. Tretter, Pro Football Focus’ ninth-ranked center in 2016 (and eighth-ranked in run-blocking), should feel confident that his addition can help a Browns run game that ranked 31st in attempts and 19th in yards a season ago.