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Breaking Down The Browns’ Competition At Right Tackle - Ez Like Sunday Morning 6/4/17

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Shon Coleman & Cam Erving Will Battle It Out For The Broadside

NFL: Cleveland Browns-Training Camp
2nd year man Shon Coleman interacting with future Hall Of Famer Joe Thomas
Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

If you are to look only at statistics, the offensive line for the Cleveland Browns last season was, it can reasonably be said, horrifying. We allowed a league high 66 sacks, good for dead-last in that department by a fairly huge margin (Seventeen more than the next closest team - LAR)

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns
Well this was unfortunate
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The primary culprit, at least in the minds of many who grace the virtual halls of this place, is a candidate for this year’s right tackle position, and last year’s starting center, Cameron Erving (pictured above in not the most flattering of images).

To be sure, Erving has had his struggles at the NFL level, spent mostly at guard (2015) and center (2016). In the final game of last season (in Pittsburgh) the Browns, for the first time in his career, played him at tackle, where he flourished most in college, and where his size projects him to play at the NFL level (6’6’’, 311) .

As it happens, the final game against Pittsburgh was also the most extensive action of the year for Shon Coleman, who is the other candidate for the RT spot and depending on who you listen to, the presumptive starter. Time certainly will tell, but today we're going to look at how these two shaped up in their only big league audition at the open bookend spot.

After the quarterback, the competition at right tackle is the most intriguing to me of all the camp battles this year. The Browns made a statement on the very 1st day of free agency this year, signing former Bengals OG Kevin Zeitler to a huge contract, and then inked his counterpart on the left side - 2014 2nd rounder Joel BItonio, to a five year extension as well. To continue shoring up the unit, Cleveland also inked former Packers’ center J.C. Tretter, albeit to a more team-friendly deal which likely has to do with his considerable injury history. Still, that's a strong commitment to the interior of the line, which combined with GOAT OT Joe Thomas makes for quite a formidable unit.

Of course, left out of all that upgrading was the right tackle position. We did draft Roderick Johnson in the 4th round, but presently all signs point to him backing up Thomas. That leaves Erving and Coleman as the default combatants in a contest upon which the ultimate success of the offensive effort may hinge.

All it takes is one weak link to seriously dismantle the effort of an OL, and so this competition is going to have consequences. What follows now is our entire offensive performance against Pittsburgh broken into gifs and focusing on the RT position. Hopefully it will provide some insight as to what we have to work with going into the season.

Cam Erving

Before I get all into this would like to point out another wrinkle, and that is the (predominant) matchup taking place most of the day between Erving and Steelers’ OLB, Bud Dupree. Many folks were displeased with the selection of Erving with the 19th selection overall in 2015, and in fact wanted us to draft Dupree instead. On balance, I’d say Erving handled him in this one.

But you judge for yourself:

Erving in pass protection vs. #96
Erving vs. Bud Dupree (#48) on the quick pass
Here Erving handles the outside stunt against #79
Quick pass play while Erving takes Dupree
Run blocking here gets a piece of 96 and 94
Run-blocking against Dupree, shows agility
Dupree speed rushes past Erving, but Cam gets enough of him to allow Griffin to complete the pass
Without a clear assignment he looks for someone to hit, and finds one
One on one in pass pro against Dupree and he handles him easily
Here he’s involved in the misdirection and doesn’t do much but it’s a TD so let’s enjoy
Another misdirection - not really involved in the play
Once again not really in the play and it goes for a loss
Here Dupree tries to win with the speed rush but Cam guides him easily around the back the pocket, allowing Griffin to do what he does best
This has been a problem for him a different times; he’s plenty fast enough to make blocks at the 2nd level but doesn’t always stick the defender
Here he just kind of helps out Good Guy Gary, who’s pretty much got it handled
Erving handles Dupree here
Gets hit in the side and falls down - play is successfully run to the other side however
Erving tracks well and plays the screen to the second level, once again displaying that agility
Quick hitter, not a lot to see but his man doesn’t get close
Cam handles 96 here
He holds up in pass pro here.
He does well against the blitzing 50
Draw Play
No problem with the outside stunt
Looks like he might be giving up a bit of inside leverage here but the ball comes out pretty quickly
Clears out a lane for Atkinson here
Dupree doesn’t get close, Touchdown
Again shows that he can move well on the sweep, but also doesn’t get a solid stick on anyone
Does the job on the draw play
Steers Dupree to the back of the pocket
Looks like Dupree gets around him but the ball is out
Draw
Nice job setting a wall for this inside run
Decent pass protection, Griffin throws it right to Shazier
These two plays back-to-back illustrate just how hilariously ridiculous that final game in Pittsburgh was
This one closes out the 1st half
Second half begins Ervs looks a little stiff
Dupree straight up beats him. Sack, strip, fumble, Erving recovers.
The sack had it’s impact: this would be Erving’s last play for a while.

Shon Coleman

After the series in which Erving gave up the sack, Coleman entered the game. He had played pretty sparingly most of the year, but was given a chance to get a lot of work in this one.

Coleman comes in and teams up on a running play
Doesn’t seem to have any trouble pushing Dupree around
Likewise has no problem with 96
79 wants a taste, no dice - this time in pass pro
Coleman looks strong against 94
This one goes by quick but it’s a play-action to the other direction anyway
Same deal - going the other way
First time vs. Dupree, gets pushed back a bit.
Here he shows off some of his own wheels, also Crow is pretty good.
Gets some push up the gut
Quick pass
Easily handles Dupree
Gets pushed back here but not sure if it’s part of the screen-sell or not.
Once again shows that he can move, but does pull up lame at the end here
Erving comes back in and does his job, but his replacement at center gives up the sack
Coleman back in quickly - same result as previous play
This is a really nice highlight. Coleman works well into the 2nd level and then just crushes his defender which springs Crowell
He doesn’t have to do much but we score anyway.
Not much impact as the play’s going the other way
Seals up the EDGE pressure along with Pasztor - this ended up being a big play
Of course, very next play Crow puts it on the ground
Misdirection away from him but he certainly isn’t averse to always looking to hit someone
Draw
Coleman once again holds his own in Pass pro
Pretty good in the run game too.
Play action/odd position to drive block in pass protection
Shows some more of that ability to move for a big man.
Pushes his man around pretty easily here.
Quick hitter, incomplete
Decent job run-blocking but the play’s going the other way
Dupree kinda eats him up here
Nice job in pass pro here
Once again handling business
This play...I mean it might as well symbolize these last 17 years. At least Coleman had nothing to do with it.
Mercifully, the final offensive play of our season.

The Conclusion

Obviously you cannot make a full judgment on a player or players based on one game. At the same time, this one game is the only really tape that we have on either Cam Erving or Shon Coleman at Right Tackle. What can be done, IMO, is a determination can be made about whether or not each of these guys can play the position at the pro level. From my vantage point, both passed that test.

Poll

Who Do You Prefer Starts At RT?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Cam Erving
    (236 votes)
  • 74%
    Shon Coleman
    (676 votes)
912 votes total Vote Now