The Cleveland Browns offensive line created issues for the offense on Sunday, but it was not the result of trading Kevin Zeitler during the offseason.
There were many problems with the Cleveland Browns during their season opener that led them to losing to the Tennessee Titans 43-13.
One of the biggest complaints from the fan base, other than the amount of penalties committed by the Browns, was the play of Cleveland’s offensive line. And that includes their play prior to Greg Robinson’s ejection and Kendall Lamm’s injury.
Besides Cleveland’s first drive, Baker Mayfield dealt with plenty of pressure, which limited his ability in the passing attack. Mayfield is partly to blame for the amount of pressure he faced considering how long he held onto the ball at times. The Browns also seemed to abandon a quick passing attack, forcing Mayfield to sit in the pocket and wait for routes to develop.
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It seemed like the pressure was coming from all directions and no offensive linemen would not be criticized for their performance. That includes right guard Eric Kush, who was arguably the biggest concern on the offensive line after struggling to claim the starting job during training camp.
The complaints about Kush barely claiming the starting right guard job makes many wonder why the Browns traded Kevin Zeitler for Olivier Vernon during the offseason. Zeitler was one of the top guards in football last season and was a stalwart when it came to pass blocking.
However, the rise in complaints about the Zeitler trade following the season opener should not be occurring. Although Kush did not stand out against the Titans, he played well in his debut as the Browns starting guard. As noted by Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report, Kush did not allow a single pressure.
Most of the problems on the offensive line were due in large part because of the play of the offensive tackles. Hubbard struggled mightily on Sunday, allowing multiple sacks when lined up at both right tackle and left tackle.
Compared to the Browns offensive tackles, Cleveland’s guards played well against the Titans. Kush may have been the target of concerns entering the regular season, but he was far from the problem in Cleveland’s blowout loss to Tennessee.
Even with Vernon not having much of an impact, the Browns trading Zeitler remains a good move. With the amount of money Cleveland has to spend on re-signing players over the next couple of seasons, they needed to move on from Zeitler’s cap hit. And Vernon should provide the pass rush needed to help generate pressure, even with Myles Garrett facing extra attention, despite struggling to do so Week 1.
The Browns need to make a lot of improvements on the offensive side of the ball by the time they take the field on Monday against the Jets. But the Browns should not be faulted for the Zeitler trade, even after the disaster in the season opener against the Titans.