5 Browns O-Linemen who stepped up under Bill Callahan

Cleveland Browns offensive guard Wyatt Teller (77) speaks with offensive line coach Bill Callahan during NFL football practice, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Berea, Ohio.Browns 14
Cleveland Browns offensive guard Wyatt Teller (77) speaks with offensive line coach Bill Callahan during NFL football practice, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Berea, Ohio.Browns 14 /
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The Cleveland Browns offensive line has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal season thus far. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan may be the most valuable staff member, as many of his pupils have grown up to be true ballers under his tutelage. The front five managed to send both starting guards to the Pro Bowl last season, and Joel Bitonio made it to his first-ever All Pro team.

In the previous year, Jack Conklin also made first-team All-Pro. Success tends to follow Callahan around. According to the Browns’ official website, he’s had 12 offensive linemen who have combined for 29 Pro Bowl selections and counting. In fact, it wouldn’t be a total shock if he adds another one this season in Ethan Pocic, who has come from out of nowhere to be one of the better centers in the NFL.

Callahan’s skills may come into play with the trade deadline looming because the Browns may need to clear some salaries, especially if they lose to the Bengals on Monday Night Football, thereby essentially wiping out their playoff hopes. The reason is simple. Losing teams need to clear cap space and save it for next year’s team. If they can get draft picks for a starter on the offensive line, that might happen, and someone currently on the bench may become a starter next week.

Fortunately, there is a history of success on the offensive line. We can point to players who have improved significantly under Callahan as well as other players currently on the bench who appear to be ready to move up. Let’s start with the Pancake King, Wyatt Teller.

5 Browns O-Linemen who stepped up under Bill Callahan

Browns, Wyatt Teller. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

5. Wyatt Teller: Pro Bowler and Pancake Artist

Wyatt Teller is currently out with a calf injury, but it’s believed that he will be back soon and will be his dominant self. Teller, along with a 2021 seventh-round pick, was acquired by John Dorsey in 2019 from the Buffalo Bills in exchange for 2020 fifth and sixth-round picks. Yet Teller was not even the first string player originally, as that job was owned by Eric Kush. That trade didn’t seem to make very much sense at the time to many of us, but how wrong we were.

Once Teller got into the lineup in mid-season, he seemed to be a definite upgrade over Kush. At first, he seemed to be at least average, and most observers agreed that he deserved the promotion over Kush. Well and good.

Soon, however, opposing defenders started winding up on their backs, via the “pancake block.” What was going on here? Most of the time, this wasn’t something that appeared to be devastating, just a quick movement of Teller’s forearms, and bam, someone fell on the ground.

Much of the time, even watching the replay, you might think that the defender slipped on the wet turf or something. But it kept happening game after game. Teller’s man kept winding up flat on his back. Eventually, it started to sink in that Teller is very, very good at delivering pancake blocks. This guy was for real. For that reason, FirstEnergy Stadium might be unofficially known as Teller’s House of Pancakes.

In the course of his Browns career, he has gone from benchwarmer to starter to Pro Bowler. Obviously, John Dorsey saw the talent, and Bill Callahan helped to bring it out.

It’s possible, but not likely that Teller will be offered in a deadline trade. As of Week 9, Teller is listed as Out versus the Bengals with that calf injury. At this point, it’s believed that the injury is not chronic, although he had a similar injury in 2020. That slightly uncertain prognosis, along with his hefty contract, might keep him anchored in Cleveland. If traded, the Browns’ cap would be charged for his signing bonus money, but the new team would inherit obligations for his base salary and roster bonuses, amounting to roughly $40 million in the next three and a half seasons.

Hjalte Froholdt is the greatest Danish football player since kicker Morten Anderson. Of course, there haven’t been that many. The former Arkansas Razorback and fourth-round draft pick of the New England Patriots had an impressive start in place of Teller.

He started a few games at center in college and got in some snaps for the Browns in the preseason and looked fine. We would like to see more of the Danish strongman before recommending him for a starting job at guard or center, but in limited sample sizes, he has looked fine.