Leader may be emerging in the Cleveland Browns right guard competition
The Cleveland Browns have consistently rotated their right guard during training camp, but a leader may be emerging before the first preseason game.
Since the start of training camp, the Cleveland Browns have been working with a three-man rotation at right guard. During the competition between Austin Corbett, Kyle Kalis, and Eric Kush, none of the three players have been with the first-team for back-to-back practices.
By having each player rotate with the first-team offense every other practice, it has given them an equal opportunity to stand out to the coaching staff by having roughly the same amount of reps.
But as the Browns start their lead up to their first preseason game, a leader may be emerging from the competition, and it is the veteran of the group.
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The 29-year-old is entering his sixth season in the league and has started 12 games in his career, including seven games for the Chicago Bears last season. During those seven starts in 2018, Kush allowed only three pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
Kush’s pass blocking was graded favorably by Pro Football Focus with a grade of 79.6. However, Kush was graded as a poor run blocker with a grade of 48.5. Because the Browns are attempting to replace Kevin Zeitler, they need a guard who will be consistent as a pass blocker and a run blocker to attempt to match Zeitler’s production.
Kush is the most experienced player of the group and could be the player most prepared to replace Zeitler. According to Jake Burns of Cleveland.com, he has the physical ability to be the starter, but it’s his mental makeup that creates some question marks about if he can start.
"Kush seems to have the ability, but his mental makeup comes with question marks. Several times during camp Kitchens has had to yell at him about mental mistakes, including penalties and missed assignments. Those things linger in a coach’s mind. – Burns, Cleveland.com"
Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said last week that he was hoping one of the three guards would have separated themselves at this point, but they had not done so, making it difficult for him to name a leader.
But with Kush being the first of three guards to work with the first-team offense in back-to-back practices, it seems like he is starting to get an edge on the group. If he plays well during the Browns first preseason game Thursday against the Washington Redskins, he may emerge as the clear leader.
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