As of Monday, the Cleveland Browns are still saying they’re not sure who will play left tackle in Week 1. Hopefully, this is just gamesmanship from them.
While talking with reporters on Monday, Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joel Bitonio said he will play wherever he’s told to. He also said he’s unsure where that will be when the team hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 this coming Sunday.
Entering training camp, the team wanted Bitonio to stay at his left guard position with Shon Coleman at left tackle. It didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t going to work and Bitonio slid over.
Coleman is now gone and we all assumed Bitonio would continue to work at the position he’s been practicing for the majority of the offseason. According to what Bitonio is now saying, that’s not definitively going to be the case.
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Considering the importance of the position, they should figure that one out.
Hopefully, this is a case of head coach Hue Jackson trying to keep things close to the vest and throw the Steelers off a little bit. He may be wanting them to think that Bitonio could be moving back to left guard with undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison taking over at left tackle.
Truly, this wouldn’t do much in the way of strategy, but maybe that’s the thinking. If Cleveland really isn’t sure what they’re doing — then we have a problem.
No position outside of quarterback is as vital to the success of an offense as the left tackle is. Bitonio has been working there all preseason and is doing a good enough job to keep this offense moving. Also playing well is left guard Austin Corbett.
Throwing Harrison out there seems like it would be counterproductive given his lack of work with the first team.
Harrison is a player to keep an eye on going forward. He’s got all the talent in the world and likely is the left tackle of the future. That doesn’t mean he should be thrown out there with limited reps with the first team.
The offensive line is all about communication and cohesiveness. They need to gel together and trying to figure things out this late in the game is a bit scary. So again, hopefully, it’s all just gamesmanship.