The Cleveland Browns returned to the practice field on Monday as they prepare for Sunday’s season-opening game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Oddly enough, the Browns may not know who will be lining up on the left side of the offensive line come game day.
That’s not entirely true, maybe, as head coach Hue Jackson said he knows what the plan is, but he’s not ready to reveal it because the team is still working things out, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“Have not really worked through it yet. We are just working. Right now, it is the way that is has been. Nothing has changed in that way. We have a week. We do not play until Sunday. We are going to figure it out and put the best five guys out there. I have a pretty good idea of what it is going to be. I have to keep saying it, keep having the guys work every day together and go from there.”
The plan throughout the preseason was to have Joel Bitonio shift to left tackle and have rookie Austin Corbett take over Bitonio’s position at left guard. That hit a bit of a bump over the weekend when Jackson announced that the decision was still fluid in the run up to the game against the Steelers.
What appears to be giving the coaching staff pause is the play of Desmond Harrison, an undrafted free agent from West Georgia, who looks to have shown the coaching staff enough to warrant talk about him taking over the starter’s role at left tackle, as Jackson told clevelandbrowns.com:
“He has improved. It gives you another option to look through to see who are the best five guys to put out there — him, (OL Gregg) Robinson. Robinson has improved. I have seen a lot of good things over the last week and a half. My job is to make sure that we put the best players out there, period. Whatever position it is, that is what we are supposed to do. In those situations, that is what we are going to do.”
The person most impacted by all of this, outside of quarterback Tyrod Taylor, is Bitonio, who does not know where he will be lining up when the Browns break the huddle for their first offensive snap on Sunday.
But Bitonio is not sweating it, at least outwardly, because he said everyone will know soon enough, according to the team’s website:
“I think (Hue) is going to come back Wednesday and give us a definite answer. I am ready for both [tackle and guard], though. Whatever they put me at, I am ready to go and play some football finally. I know he is going through his plan and Desmond (Harrison) has not got as much practice time so he is trying to see where he is at, and Corbett is still working. I think it is just trying to get the best five guys out there. We are going to get a good rhythm going, and we will be fine for Pittsburgh.”
The Browns had all of training camp and the preseason to figure this out. Now, just days away from the first game of the season, they are still sorting out the details. One way or another, we’ll find out soon enough what the answer is.