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The Trenches Are the Cleveland Browns' Strengths Heading into 2009


Dan in Florida

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The Trenches Are the Cleveland Browns' Strengths Heading into 2009

The Bleacher Report

May 09, 2009

 

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A position that often gets overlooked in the NFL is the line, both offensive and defensive. Even though these positions are very important, they don't get as much credit as the skilled players.

 

Heading into 2009, the Cleveland Browns trenches are looking good, as well as deep.

 

The Offensive Line

 

Out: Kevin Shaffer, Seth McKinney

 

In: Floyd Womack, John St. Clair, Alex Mack

 

The Browns offensive line is looking to be their strongest asset in the upcoming season. That's something Cleveland hasn't been able to say in a long time.

 

They have so much depth, created by many starter quality players. Even if a player is injured, the Browns might not miss a beat.

 

First comes the tackle positions. The only sure thing about them is Joe Thomas at left tackle. He has made two Pro Bowl appearances in two year. The right side will be a competition.

 

Last years starter at right tackle was Kevin Shaffer, who Mangini cut earlier in the offseason. His inconsistent play and knack for penalties lead to his release.

 

The candidates are Ryan Tucker and John St. Clair. There has been some speculation that Eric Steinbach could be moved to the right tackle position, but St. Clair's three year, $9 million contract could say differently.

 

St. Clair has been a starter in his career, as well as being a depth player. He started all 16 games for the Chicago Bears last season at the right tackles position, and he even had a touchdown reception for the Bears.

 

Tucker, who played right guard for the Browns in 2007 and 2008, will look to go back to right tackle where he played earlier in his career. He was the starter at right tackle before the drafting of Joe Thomas forced Kevin Shaffer to move to there.

 

If healthy, Tucker could be the starter. It is a little ironic that the only game he played last season was the memorable one against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants. When Tucker stepped in, the Browns' offense line thrived.

 

From there, you have the guard positions. Eric Steinbach was the Browns starter at left guard last season and that looks like it won't change any time soon. Thus leaving the competition to remain on the right side, once again.

 

Last year the starter heading into the season was Tucker, but his injuries lead to Rex Hadnot starting 15 games. Both remain on the team looking to compete for the job. Another player in the mix is Floyd Womack.

 

Tucker of course has been injured a lot the last few years and Hadnot has seniority, but the position is anybodies. Womack starter 14 games for the Seattle Seahawks last season, giving him plenty of experience for the job.

 

Lastly comes the center position.

 

Last seasons starter was Hank Fraley, a stopgap due to LeCharles Bentley's horrible injury. He has done well for the Browns in the last three years, not missing one game, let alone a start. It may be time for him to step down, though.

 

The Browns' first-round draft pick, Alex Mack, heads into camp trying to take the starting center position. Of course, he is a rookie, but when compared to Mangini's previous first-round center, Nick Mangold, there is a lot to be put into Mack.

 

Mack could also play guard, depending on how Fraley's performance compares to the other guards.

 

The experienced lineman pushing for a depth spot are Lennie Friedman and Isaac Sowells. Young lineman that should push for depth roles in camp are Kurt Quarterman, Dusty Fry, Marlon Davis, and Branndon Braxton.

 

One very important thing that shouldn't be overlooked is the Browns tight ends, the unofficial lineman. Robert Royal and Steve Heiden are good blocking tight ends that will look to help the O-line.

 

Martin Rucker isn't much of a blocker, but is a great receiver to throw into the game for a change of pace. Despite their good blocking, Royal and Heiden can catch as well.

 

Projected starting offensive line (including tight ends):

 

TE- Robert Royal

LT- Joe Thomas

LG- Eric Steinbach

C- Alex Mack

RG- Floyd Womack

RT- John St. Clair

TE- Steve Heiden

 

The Defensive Line

 

Out: none

 

In: C.J. Mosley, Kenyon Coleman

 

Last season, the starting defensive ends were suppose to be Corey Williams and Robaire Smith. Smith had a season ending surgery, missing 14 games. Williams started all 16 games, even though he had injury problems in the preseason.

 

Players like Shaun Smith, Louis Leonard, and Santonio Thomas filled Robaire's shoes while he was out. Now that Robaire is back, the defensive end competition will be interesting.

 

Especially with the addition of Kenyon Coleman, one of the New York Jets starting defensive ends in 2008. Coleman has the edge, considering he has the experience with Mangini's system and that he had a healthy season last year.

 

Corey Williams should retain his starting role, but opposite him will be interesting. This leaves the middle.

 

Despite Mangini "insulting" him during the offseason, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Shaun Rogers is still a Brown. He comes into camp in control of the defensive tackle position. The question will be who will play behind him.

 

Everybody should be well aware that Rogers isn't exactly capable of playing every down of every series, so whoever plays behind him will have an important role. The contestants for the job is anyone who isn't starting a defensive end.

 

Projected starting defensive line:

 

RDE- Kenyon Coleman

DT- Shaun Rogers

LDE- Corey Williams

 

Assuming that the Browns defensive line looks like this, the players behind Rogers should be Shaun Smith and Mosley. Robaire Smith, Leonard, and Thomas should look to play behind Williams and Coleman.

 

Nonetheless, the Browns defensive line is talented and deep, similar to the offensive line. Other lineman that should push for spots on the roster are Ahtyba Rubin, Melila Purcell, Chase Pittman, and Adam Hoppel.

 

With the trenches strong and deep, other players should benefit. The Browns offense will thrive, both running and passing game. The linebackers should have an easier time getting to the quarterback.

 

Not to mention with many players with experience, everybody should get a rest from time to time, keeping everyone fresh.

 

There is still plenty of work to do, but the lines are looking strong for Cleveland.

 

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I think every position has been upgraded, but playoff-caliber might be stretching it. I think they're solid at all positions not LB or RB, and above average on the offensive and defensive lines. I think CB is a concern, and I'm not too sure if I should expect a great running game. With the offensive line I think it'll be sufficient. The biggest concerns of mine are QB and pass rush.

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I don't like having to rely on Tucker but he's a much better fit at right guard than right tackle.

If he can pull through one more season it'll put us in a good position to draft a replacement for him next season, making a strong point stronger.

 

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I like what we have "in the trenches".

If BQ is going to start from day one, he needs to be protected. Last year we ended up with all three QB injured. I don't know how competitive we shall be this year, but priority one is to have our best players in the position to perform at their best. QB and RB play will benefit greatly from that.

As far as the D-Line is concerned, I'm so happy Shaun Rogers is still with us! I haven't seen such a beast in the orange and brown D-Line for years. I am looking forward to seeing him cleaning his shoes on Rothlisburger.

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Tough to argue that the Browns' personnel on both sides of the line isn't very, very strong. Playoff caliber strong. I like our WRs quite a bit, too, and I'm optimistic about Quinn and the secondary.

 

The question marks are LB and RB... but there are plenty of reasons to envision happy endings there, too.

 

 

Maybe......I like the left side of the O-line.

 

Mack is still a rookie. I doubt he is going to manhandle guys right off the bat. He may be a upgrade right off the bat, but he is going to have to become a NFL player.

 

The right side is way unsettled.

 

Tucker is a big question mark from a health standpoint.

 

St.Claire is a journeyman player. Shaffer was better than him. Shaffer IMO was a salary cut more than a lack of play.

 

I think it can be a pretty good line, but a lot of things are going to have to go our way.

 

We are still a couple of early draft choices away from having the type of line you can just forget about.

 

I feel even less confident on D.

 

Rogers is the only real good player in that unit. The rest range from OK to just guys on a football team.

 

It can get better quicker since you only have 3 starting positions. If some of the new guys step up, it can go from a OK unit to a pretty darn good unit.

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I like tucker over Womack at least until he gets hurt by the 3rd game or so..Steinbach is going to become a liability he is undersized and was starting to really get punked bad by mid season...playoff caliber o line? not quite yet..;)

 

Our dline depends on rather williams fully adjusts to being a 3-4 DE if he does our d-line will be rock solid...how well rubin handles rotating in for rogers will be crucial as well since these are the only 2 legit NTs...playoff caliber? hahahaha! decent and likely productive but not playoff caliber just yet..;)

 

Both lines will be solid for once but both have potential problem spots that opponents will exploit if possible...but im sure mangini has a plan to deal with it if it happens...;)

 

Im hopeful we can get to post season but it really depends on the entire club actually working together in order to achieve it...impossible for the browns to make the playoffs?

Absolutely not! :)

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Guest Aloysius

St. Clair played out of position last year at left tackle and did an adequate job, but anyone who gives up 9.75 sacks in a season isn't going to win over my heart. I caught part of the Philly game on NFL Network, and the guy had a lot of trouble keeping up with Trent Cole. He reminded me a lot of Max Starks: good initial punch, but lacks the foot quickness to mirror good speed rushers.

 

The 3 year, $9M contract the Browns gave him puts him at the bottom financial rung of veteran right tackles, next to guys like Cornell Green and Damion McIntosh - not good company. And money wasn't the reason St. Clair came to Cleveland. Per various reports, Chicago was offering similar money, but they wanted him to move inside to guard, where his pass blocking would be less of an issue. The Browns reportedly told him he could stay at tackle.

 

From what I can tell, the move from Shaffer to St. Clair takes us a step down in pass protection but gives us a legit road grader at right tackle. Hopefully, the offensive coaching staff is able to give him enough help so that his pass pro doesn't hurt us.

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We can also hope Pork Chop outplays St. Clair at RT and wins the job...

 

Though guys like Tucker, St. Clair, Womack and Hadnot are far from stars, they offer us a great deal of depth on the right side. This is a damn good O-line, on paper.

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St. Clair was a full-time starter for Chicago

 

 

I don't care about that. I hope you are right, but IMO the guy is a stiff.

 

Shaffer was a full time starter too.

 

I wouldn't allow the fact he started turn him in to something he's not.

 

He fills a role and need, but he doesn't make a line stronger unless you just don't have anybody.

 

The Browns need to draft a real RT if they want a line as good as the one we will put on the field this year.

And for the most part, real RT's are off the board by pick 50 unless you just get lucky....which can happen..

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As a right tackle, I think St. Clair goes up into the top third. Left tackle, not so much. I think he'll be a nice upgrade over Shaffer at that position.

 

Also the possibility of Womack or St. Clair at RG and Tucker at RT, his favorite position. Lots of possibilities, and all of them are bulldozer types.

 

St Clair will moist likely be at RT and will be an upgrade over Shaffer. Not because he has more talent, but because he plays with more heart. Shaffer is gone along with a few others because they quit on the team coming down the stretch and I think Mangini noted that in films. St Clair isn't much better but he will play better. Tucker, if healthy will start somewhere. If healthy, he is an outstanding OL, at RT or RG. In 2007, he actually made Shaffer look like a football player and shaffer didn't take any plays off with Tucker next to him.

 

To answer some comments above; Womack is a guard, he can play some tackle in an emergency, but he is a guard. Hadnot is a good backup, he will backup center and guard. That's what he was brought here for, he isn't a guy you want to hang your hat on as a foundation guy. Steinbach din't play as well last year as in 2007 and it wasn't because he is too small. He played next to a undersized center that was getting his ass kicked and he played hurt most of the year. but, he suited up and never made an excuse. He is the type of guy you want to go to war with. Playing between Thomas and Mack is perfect for him and he should be a stud like he has been in the past. People forget, more then any other positions, the line is a unit and must play like one. Steinbach will hold up his end, but he can't hold up hsi position and help the center on every play.

 

IMO, the line will be................Thomas, Steinbach, Mack, Tucker, St Clair and Heiden/Royal rotating. If St Clair doesn't cut it, which I think he will with Tucker next to him, it should be; Thomas, Steinbach, Mack, Womack/Hadnot, Tucker with St Clair as a backup tackle. But, I think St Clair will perform well at RT and prosper next to Tucker.

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Steinbach is going to become a liability he is undersized and was starting to really get punked bad by mid season...playoff caliber o line? not quite yet..;)

ES played all of last season with a torn pectoral muscle, and as far as him being undersized I don't see it affecting his play as much as you considering last season he had to bail out Fraley the whole time, add in he was injured and yes, it made him look like shit.

So he's coming back healthy and has a center next to him that doesn't need his help blocking one of those big AFC North NTs, but those together and I think he's going to excel this season because it's going to give him the freedom to pull and lead block again which we sorely missed last season.

For the record, I did say first BEFORE we signed him he was slightly undersized and was an overachiever, which is a bad recipe for performance when playing while injured but everyone told me I was crazy.

For the record I was the first to point out Shaffer was not a good signing as a left tackle because when he played in Atlanta he may have played left, but didn't play blindside since they were using a left handed qb at the time and his play would suffer on the left here and again, was called crazy.

I'm to offensive line to what Shep is to qbs, a real student of the trenches.

So, for the record right now, so we can look back at it, I'm letting everyone know Tucker is a liability and we truly need a guard on the right side before we can really consider this line our strength. St Clair will be serviceable as a RT (about the same as Shaffer) but lacks the side to side movement to deal with outside speed rushers, it's the same weakness Tucker started showing 3 seasons ago before we had to move him inside for him to remain productive (when healthy enough to play).

So bash me all you want and call me crazy, but unless our new OC is willing to add a TE to help St Clair when we face a fast outside rush (and hopefully a back that can give a good hit to a surprise rusher St Clair is going to miss to give Quinn, or WHOEVER our starting qb may be that extra second) that right side is going to look really bad, really fast.

 

 

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Tobalaz...you're crazy!!

 

 

 

 

Just kidding...you have a THING about people calling you crazy. Your logic seems sound to me. I don't know your previous predicitons. I do agree that the NEXT DRAFT needs to address the RIGHT SIDE OF THE LINE (probably RT) :rolleyes:

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I like Tucker to win the RT tackle spot with St. Claire as the backup.. I believe we will be stronger with that lineup. maybe I just like tucker a little more. Better guy starts and we will be decent on the left side if they can protect the QB. The run game should be better with Mack. I am tired of having the guards have to help the center(Fraley) so much. Mack was drafted for the purpose of handling the likes of Casey Hampton , Ngata, and Tank Johnson. He is a big boy and that is EXACTLY the reason he was brought in to negate those big boys in the middle of the division teams DL. I am also tired of watching the pocket collapse up the middle. That should end with Mack in there.

 

DL is still a big question mark to me. It looks better on paper.. But we thought we had this fixed last year too, and we sucked. So I will wait and see.

 

I have confidence in the OL but DL?? not so sure.

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The offensive line more than any other group on a football team has to play as one cohesive unit. They have to have one mind and one purpose and act accordingly. If one guy on the offensive line isn't playing 100% or isn't on the same page it can make everybody look terrible.

 

Over-rated.

 

Our line is mediocre at best and we won 2 SB's with it.

 

A solid O-line is nice, but if you don't have players in other key spots, none of it means dick.

 

Regards

 

 

 

 

 

..... an'at

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

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Our line is mediocre at best and we won 2 SB's with it.

 

Very true. You just happen to have a QB that can make up for a crap line. Not sure we have that luxury.

 

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Over-rated.

 

Our line is mediocre at best and we won 2 SB's with it.

 

A solid O-line is nice, but if you don't have players in other key spots, none of it means dick.

 

Regards

 

 

 

 

 

..... an'at

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

I tend to disagree.

You had EXCELLENT runblockers on the line, it's just their pass protection was suspect.

However, Ben holding on to the ball as long as he does at times made their pass blocking look worse than it really was.

Another thing is both Big Gay Ben and Byron Leftwich have a slower wind up on their passes, once the tackles started carrying back their blocks an extra 3 feet they looked much better giving their qbs an extra second and a half.

I do agree with everyone else however, cohesion of the unit and the ability to work together as one is just as if not more important than the talent that encompasses it.

 

 

 

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Exactly. Pittifullburg had the #1 defense,

 

and often gave Rothlicksbooger enough time to stand

 

back there and throw to Hines Ward...

 

who always gets open and always catches the ball

 

and always laughs like an idiot. I hate him. GGG

 

Derrick Anderson with a fractured throwing hand could have

 

"led" the Steelers to the superbowl last year.

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Guest Aloysius
As a right tackle, I think St. Clair goes up into the top third. Left tackle, not so much. I think he'll be a nice upgrade over Shaffer at that position.

Just as we probably shouldn't have relied on a guy whose nickname is "the Human Hamstring Pull" to give us 16 games last year, I don't think a guy nicknamed "the Human Turnstile" is going to be a great all around right tackle for us.

 

But that doesn't mean it was a bad move to replace Shaffer with St. Clair, just a different approach to the position.

 

Particularly in the AFC North, one can argue that it's best to have two bookend tackles who are great pass protectors, thereby limiting the hurt Suggs, Woodley, and Harrison can put on your QB. That, I think, was part of the reasoning behind drafting Thomas and moving Shaffer to right tackle. If you can get good pass pro from both tackles, it really opens up the passing game, as we saw in '07.

 

On the other hand, one could argue that with the tough, physical defenses in our divison, you want a punch 'em in the mouth right tackle who can be a road grader on the right side. That way, you'll face less 3rd and longs, which is when those great pass rushers really pin their ears back and get after the QB.

 

These two approaches aren't mutually exclusive. Ideally, you want a guy who's got left tackle feet and mauls like a right guard. And I'm with ballpeen here: our scouts better be looking for a good RT prospect in next year's draft.

 

But you can't always have the perfect solution. And when Mangini can't, he clearly prefers having that road grader over having a bookend pass blocker. Just look at what he did last year: he signed a career interior lineman with only a few games' experience at tackle to play RT. I doubt he was expecting Damien Woody to be a great pass blocker; he probably figured he could give him enough help that pass blocking wouldn't be an issue, leaving him with a guy who'd open up holes on the right side. Considering that D'Brickashaw Ferguson is a poor run blocker, putting a mauler at RT made even more sense.

 

I'm guessing that the Browns' coaching staff is planning to do the same with St. Clair. If they leave the guy on an island, LaMarr Woodley is going to run right by him. But if you give him enough help, you can at least partly compensate for his slow feet.

 

With that in mind, it'd be nice to have a running back who's good at picking up blitzers and/or guys St. Clair occasionally whiffs on. Not sure we have one of those: IIRC, Noah Herron's good at it, but he's a roster bubble guy who probably won't be active on Sundays.

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It would be nice to maybe keep this thread as our offensive line discussion for awhile, there are all kinds of different threads with oline observations in them. Good post Dan, but who in the hell wrote that article? It looked like it was written by a high school kid for junior high kids, plus it had a few typos such as "lead". Are we back in Rome with my theory that Lead Poisoning and Inbreeding ultimately doomed the Romans? (Ironically, this same evolution is currently going on in our beloved Pittsburgh, PA) Anyway, enough of the digression shit, here's my two sense?

 

The decision to oust Shaffer was no doubt directly related to money, and I even predicted he'd be let go after Mancock was hired. Let's not pretend Shaffer sucked that bad here, it wasn't that. As a matter of fact, in '07 he actually graded out the best on the line according to old line coach Steve Marshall. Ii still don't know what to think about Marshall though, because he also called Tucker the team's best lineman when in fact Joe Thomas had one of the best year's in Cleveland Browns history at LT. He also may have had the best year ever for a rookie LT, better than Pace, Walter Jones----maybe even Munoz. Sure, Marshall was probably not willing to give the rookie too many kudos over a hardened vet like Tuck, but the point of all this is Shaffer performed at a pretty high level in '07.

 

Having Tucker next to him was huge for Shaffer, no doubt, but so was DA getting rid of the ball quickly. It's the good and the bad of Dexter----yeah, he gets rid of the ball quick as hell, but he also fails to go through his progressions by doing so or keeping a drive alive with pocket presence. Back to Shaffer----he is not that bad of a lineman and somewhat versatile, the fact remains that Phillip desperately overpaid for the guy. Kevvy Shafe reaped the benefits of a crappy FA class at LT the year he was signed in Savage's quest to strengthen the oline.

 

I think the Browns plan is twofold and very contingent on Tucker playing twelve to 16 games at RG. As stated before, when healthy Tucker is a Pro Bowl type RG, whereas at RT he was losing to speed rushers 3 to 4 years ago. Simply put, Tucker is a difference maker at RG but an also ran at RT. I don't think there is a lot to dispute regarding this.

 

The drafting of Mack helps bring some toughness and size to the interior line while maintaining Fraley's cerebral approach. Let's say he starts over Fraley for now and the guard thing is an aberration. Here is your starting line when camp starts:

LT Thomas

LG Steinbach

C Mack

RG Tucker

RT Pencil in St. Claire

 

My guess is Mangie will push guys hard to win a starting job at RT. It will be one of the best battles of camp, and if nobody is competent there they do have other options. Those would include Tucker going to RT and Hadnot at RG, or Tucker at RT and Mack sliding over to RG with Fraley back at center. I think the Hadnot theory is more plausible because it gives the team the strength in the running game and physicality. It's also possible that Hadnot could be a camp casualty based on his contract and the fact they may want to go younger, but I'm not sure of Hadnot's cap implications.

 

As Alo said, let's not blindly assume the Human Turnstile is going to become a great pass blocker all of a sudden, especially in our division where coaches will attack the weakpoint of the line like Hyenas attack a lone and wounded lion. The issue with this is he will need help, but how much? Our best blocking back is now in Arizona and the three top backs on the roster (I'm not including Herron here) are marginal at best at chipping and picking up the blitz. Lewis is not a good pass blocker, and we all know Harrison's inability is what supposedly had RAC 'n ROLLS keeping him from averaging 6 yards a carry. Davis has never done it and according to Alo sucked at the Senior Bowl and looked lost.

 

The other theory is to have the TE's help, but why the hell would we want to take that weapon out of the offense? I still hear Heiden's name thrown around like a shoe in when in fact he's not guaranteed to be back from his major off season knee reconstruction. Rucker is strictly a receiving threat in the mold of Winslow and more of a slot type, while Royal can help adequately but still won't be in the route.

 

The positives of St. Claire starting at RT is (if Tucker is healthy) the Browns will have one of the best running games in the league. Hopefully, Harrison will light it up this year and finally be utilized. BTW, the guys here who think he can't run between the tackles or last more than 5 carries a game blow my mind. This dude was an iron man at WSU and went for just short of 2000 yards in a season. I actually prefer him as a short yardage back because he hits the crease and stays low. We all know what Lewis does, and that's run upright and tippy toe through a hole that rapidly closes.

 

This line will be more finesse on the left side and plow horse on the right side. Keep in mind that Thomas will still slide over in jumbo packages for an overloaded right side. Also, Steinbach did not have a great year last year but it certainly didn't suck. He played most of the year hurt and plugging for Fraley, so put that to rest that Steinbach is on the decline. Worst come to worst, Steiny could move to RT but I doubt the Browns would ever want to do that. The bottom line is you would have 4 top notch guys with only RT being a liability and only in the passing game.

 

Factor in possibly the best line depth since maybe the 80's and there is room for optimism, especially with BQ making plays and keeping drives alive. You can afford the occasional pass rush from one side of the field with a competent QB, but not a guy who is going to chuck the ball without even an attempt to elude the rush or hit a quick dump off.

 

It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out, but let's not kid ourselves and act like St.Claire is going to be some kind of stud for us just because he started a few games for Chicago. He should be able to fill the void but that's based on the fine play of the rest of the line.

 

 

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Some very good offensive line comments. I believe that Mangini saw and realized that teams pushed the pocket from the middle especially since they knew that Anderson wasn't very mobile. Teams brought pressure up the middle which really showed Fraley as the weakest point to attack. Steinbach being hurt and Hadnot as an average OLmen couldn't stop the pressure. Thus, the need to get a stud in the middle. Hopefully, Mack can be that and it will take the pressure off the guards. One breakdown can cause a chain reaction on the offensive line. Fraley needing help left Thomas vulnerable to stunts and blitzes and also made Shaffer look extremely bad because he was on an island.

 

I do believe that Shaffer is gone more because of his effort at the end of the season then his lack of ability to play RT. As far as this year, Tucker is an animal when healthy. In 2007 he destroyed people and solidified the line from his RG position. Shaffer was stuck on an island so he looked very good also. I'm hoping Tucker is healthy enough to deliver on the field because he is a great influence in the locker room and very well respected by the other linemen. He will be a big influence on Mack and also make St Clair a better player or in the case of him playing RT, he will make Womack or Hadnot look much better.

 

Tucker's personality is infectious and is needed for this line. Thomas and Steinbach are quite leaders and Womack and St Clair are new. Sometimes a line can become cohesive and the sum of the parts better then the individuals might have proven to be in the past because of a guy that has the personality and attitude that is infectious.

 

Make no mistake about it, Tucker is respected by his peers, a leader on and off the field and a damn good player when healthy. This teams needs Tucker to be healthy and be that glue to make this line a unit. The success of this line could be what makes this offense productive or not.

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Like I said before the draft, the hint that Mangini, bless him, knows the significance of the guys up front being able to dominate was

 

his two first round selections...

 

When he drafted D'Brickshaw and Mangold with his two first round picks, I respected him like crazy.

 

If RT is a slight weak link on this oline with Tucker getting up in years, or St. Claire not being the long term answer there....

 

it's still an offensive line that will kick some serious butt, and protect *QUINN* and make the entire offensive playbook possible.

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Last year, teams realized we could not effectively throw the ball so the concentration was on stopping the run....

 

At the start of the season we had JJ and Stallworth not playing, Edwards coming off an injury and Winslow reduced to a push off receiver...

We had no receivers to keep the defense honest... When we did get some throws off, Edwards dropped the damn ball again & again & again....

 

I think the team Mangini is putting together will be more focused on the run rather than the homerun pass....

Who knows, we might even see Rogers take on a refrigerator Perry role on the goalline......

 

T.Dawg

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Last year, teams realized we could not effectively throw the ball so the concentration was on stopping the run....

 

At the start of the season we had JJ and Stallworth not playing, Edwards coming off an injury and Winslow reduced to a push off receiver...

We had no receivers to keep the defense honest... When we did get some throws off, Edwards dropped the damn ball again & again & again....

 

I think the team Mangini is putting together will be more focused on the run rather than the homerun pass....

Who knows, we might even see Rogers take on a refrigerator Perry role on the goalline......

 

T.Dawg

 

Even though you've pointed out the obvious, you forgot to mention a qb coming of a major conconsion from which he still hasn't recovered. DA has been cross-eyed ever since. A little pressure of BE and our "soldier" out to pasture with TB, barring injury we should have a far different approach this year.

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Is everybody forgetting about rex hadnot? after the third start he played well. i think st clair and tucker will battle for rt, st clair prob will start at rt and hadnot is starting at rg.

 

If Tucker is healthy he starts at one of the spots

 

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Is everybody forgetting about rex hadnot? after the third start he played well. i think st clair and tucker will battle for rt, st clair prob will start at rt and hadnot is starting at rg.

Is that your final answer?

Hadnot was NOT a good lineman last season, he was serviceable.

His pass blocking was average and didn't get any real push on running plays.

His versatility, being able to be average at guard and center, will give him a roster spot, but I don't see the guy EVER, EVER being a starter, barring injuries, with this team again.

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Just as we probably shouldn't have relied on a guy whose nickname is "the Human Hamstring Pull" to give us 16 games last year, I don't think a guy nicknamed "the Human Turnstile" is going to be a great all around right tackle for us.

 

But that doesn't mean it was a bad move to replace Shaffer with St. Clair, just a different approach to the position.

 

Particularly in the AFC North, one can argue that it's best to have two bookend tackles who are great pass protectors, thereby limiting the hurt Suggs, Woodley, and Harrison can put on your QB. That, I think, was part of the reasoning behind drafting Thomas and moving Shaffer to right tackle. If you can get good pass pro from both tackles, it really opens up the passing game, as we saw in '07.

 

On the other hand, one could argue that with the tough, physical defenses in our divison, you want a punch 'em in the mouth right tackle who can be a road grader on the right side. That way, you'll face less 3rd and longs, which is when those great pass rushers really pin their ears back and get after the QB.

 

These two approaches aren't mutually exclusive. Ideally, you want a guy who's got left tackle feet and mauls like a right guard. And I'm with ballpeen here: our scouts better be looking for a good RT prospect in next year's draft.

 

But you can't always have the perfect solution. And when Mangini can't, he clearly prefers having that road grader over having a bookend pass blocker. Just look at what he did last year: he signed a career interior lineman with only a few games' experience at tackle to play RT. I doubt he was expecting Damien Woody to be a great pass blocker; he probably figured he could give him enough help that pass blocking wouldn't be an issue, leaving him with a guy who'd open up holes on the right side. Considering that D'Brickashaw Ferguson is a poor run blocker, putting a mauler at RT made even more sense.

 

I'm guessing that the Browns' coaching staff is planning to do the same with St. Clair. If they leave the guy on an island, LaMarr Woodley is going to run right by him. But if you give him enough help, you can at least partly compensate for his slow feet.

 

With that in mind, it'd be nice to have a running back who's good at picking up blitzers and/or guys St. Clair occasionally whiffs on. Not sure we have one of those: IIRC, Noah Herron's good at it, but he's a roster bubble guy who probably won't be active on Sundays.

 

 

 

They can give him help using a TE to chip block on the way out...at least that allow the guy to set his feet and not get beat on the outside in the first step, or as you say, keep a back in to help out, but long term he isn't a answer....as you note.

 

We need a real RT if we want the line to be one of the better lines in the league.

 

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