Cleveland Browns: D’Ernest Johnson, Demetric Felton ready to carry the ball vs Arizona
But how healthy is the Browns offensive line?
That’s a good question. The effectiveness of D’Ernest Johnson has largely been due to his tactical smarts and his ability to use his blockers. If the offensive line is not up to its usual standards, that could be a problem.
Pro Bowl right tackle Jack Conklin, center J.C. Tretter and left tackle Jed Wills are all listed as questionable. Tretter is famous for taking rest during the season and not practicing and then showing up on game day. Since he was a limited participant on Friday, he is probably okay.
Jack Conklin, on the other hand, didn’t practice at all this week. Last week, he was replaced by rookie James Hudson, the fourth-round pick from the University of Cincinnati. Frankly, this was a bit horrifying because up to this point Hudson has played left tackle, although he did play right tackle in his college career before switching to the left side last season. Not everyone can switch like that. Hudson did it without a major incident.
Let’s not kid ourselves, however. While Hudson’s stock is on the rise after a poor preseason, there is a major difference between a Pro Bowl veteran and a rookie doing a decent fill-in at an unfamiliar position.
On the left side, the Browns rested Jedrick Wills to try to heal that sprained ankle and Blake Hance stepped in and did an acceptable job. Is a week enough time to heal? Both Wills and Conklin have been hobbling around for a couple of weeks now.
It’s hard to guess from the back of a computer screen, but the Browns backups might be a better option, especially in a 17-game season. However, Wills and Conklin are probably going to vote no on this proposition.
In any case, the offensive line is not in its normal A-1 operating condition. They are still good enough to win.
They may not get five yards per carry from Hunt, Johnson, and Felton, but they should be well about four yards, and they will all be receiving threats out of the backfield also. Look for some help from Johnny Stanton also.