3 reasons the Browns’ offensive line may be even better in 2021

Football games are won in the trenches, unless you ask a wide receiver or security.

But let’s go with the popular premise and give it away Cleveland browns offensive line a little credit for last year.

Bill callahanThe band couldn’t do anything wrong no matter who played which position.

There is a lot to be said about the Browns starters and their collection of awards and accolades.

But the 2021 effort could be best defined by a guy named Blake.

Or maybe Mike Dunn, Nick harris, and Kendall lamm, all of which recorded important snapshots.

It was the big 5 and swingman Chris hubbard who rightly get most of the credit for 2020, however.

When your weakest link gets one of the best rookie pass blocking scores, it only adds to reputation.

Career years from Jack Conklin and Wyatt teller added to the constant excellence of JC Tretter and Joel bitonio.

And here are 3 reasons why the Browns offensive line may be even better in 2021.

1. New features in Bill Callahan 2.0

Bill Callahan faced the same challenges as the rest of the NFL coaches last year.

Covid has suspended normal procedures, deadlines and expectations.

And for a coach bringing together a new team, those challenges have been magnified.

At this point in last season, Cleveland had no idea who would play right guard.

Wyatt Teller wasn’t even the favorite between Drew forbes, Chris Hubbard, or a player to add.

Jedrick wills went from right tackle to left tackle, adding to the rookie’s learning curve.

In the end, it worked better than most could have imagined.

Cleveland’s offensive line finished the league’s top-ranked unit.

And now Callahan has the time and access to teach them how to run the Stefanski program.

With twists added to the Browns offense, expect the offensive line to be even more impressive.

2. Contractual seasons provide motivation

Most NFL players say they forget about contract issues when they walk on the grass.

But they know that an ongoing contract can be helped or hindered by their performance.

Wyatt Teller is set to receive a huge post-season contract if Cleveland doesn’t extend it early.

Swing tackle Chris Hubbard joins him in free agency.

Three other starters, Joel Bitonio, JC Tretter and Jack Conklin may also be looking for extensions after 2022.

Each of their contracts expire after 2022, but each also offers significant cap savings if Berry releases them.

Release Sheldon richardson warns players to match their value to their contract price.

Contractual situations could also help the rest of the list.

Perhaps Baker Mayfield, Nick chubb, and others continue to bid for better deals as the season progresses.

And that a block or a juke shot creates extra yards, it can’t hurt the offensive line record.

3. The opponents play the game

Offensive linemen train and play hard to earn their reputation in the NFL.

This reputation can help maintain their success in subtle ways, like a neglected retainer penalty.

But the biggest difference is when a player or unit forces their opponents to change their game plan.

Individuals can try to cross a lineman with a new twist or a coordinator can change tendencies or even players.

If they are successful, well done to them for thinking outside the box.

But more often than not, such efforts don’t work well.

Trying a new move to the line is as likely to result in an offside penalty as a “win” for a quick pass.

And consistent offensive lines are likely to adapt fairly quickly to changes in game plans.

Especially when the tight ends and running backs engage the blocking game as effectively as the Browns.

Cleveland’s bright, experienced and well-trained offensive line will be up for anything.


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