After playing stellar in the preseason opener, the Cleveland Browns defensive front will face tough competition during their joint practices with the Colts.
The Cleveland Browns traveled to Indianapolis early for their second game of the preseason against the Colts on Saturday so the teams could hold two joint practices during the week.
For both sides, it will ramp up the intensity because they are no longer going against their teammates all week. Instead, they will be getting different looks from players they are not used to practicing against.
This will provide the Browns coaching staff a chance to get a better feel at how ready the team is for the season. But it will also give the players a chance to see how they stack up against some stiff competition on the Indianapolis roster.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
That especially holds true for the Cleveland defensive line, who has been impressive during training camp and in the preseason opener. The Browns four starting defensive line have been as stout as they were expected to be, but they will be challenged during the joint practices with the Colts.
The Colts have a good group of starting linemen, headlined by left tackle Anthony Castonzo and left guard Quenton Nelson. Both Castonzo and Nelson are top players at their positions, and they will be going against Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi, and Sheldon Richardson, who have shown the potential of being top players at their positions.
The matchup between Castonzo and Garrett will be one of the most interesting battles during the joint practices. During training camp, Garrett has made life miserable for Greg Robinson and whoever else goes up against him at tackle. Although Robinson has had a career resurgence, Castonzo will provide a tougher challenge.
Last season, Castonzo had a Pro Football Focus pass blocking grade of 80.7, which ranked him towards the top of the league. He allowed 27 pressures in 2018, but gave up only two sacks and seven quarterback hits.
Garrett’s incredibly quick burst off the line of scrimmage gives him the edge to get to the quarterback often. He has regularly beat the offensive tackles during training camp because of his burst. But getting to go against one-on-one with Castonzo will give Garrett a better idea of where he needs to improve or if what he’s currently doing is already good enough to get around a top tackle in the NFL.
The interior of the Colts offensive line will be a test for the Browns defensive tackles as well. Ogunjobi and Richardson will be responsible for taking on multiple blockers to help free the linebackers to make plays against the run. But they will have their hands full going against Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Mark Glowinski.
Although J.C. Tretter and Joel Bitonio provide the Browns defensive tackles stiff competition, the revolving door at right guard until Eric Kush took over the job has not given Ogunjobi and Richardson adequate competition during camp. But that will not be the case against the Colts interior offensive line.
The two joint practices between the Browns and Colts will hep both sides prepare for the season and get an idea of where they need to improve. But with the amount of talent on Cleveland’s defensive front and Indianapolis’ offensive line, it could become a heated battle in the trenches that will be fascinating to watch.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe