The Browns line for 2014 could be very similar to that of 2013, a unit with considerable individual talent, yet lacking in cohesiveness.
Then again, the line could be much different, with potential new blood inserted into both OG spots. That will all depend upon how each one fits into the new zone blocking scheme.
Bitonio will compete with current LG John Greco, who inked a contract extension with the Browns a year ago.
Heading into training camp, Bitonio has an edge for the starting LG spot due to the fact he was specifically selected by the Browns due to being a fit in the zone scheme. Bitinio possesses a nasty demeanor on the field, and is technically sound. The rookie offensive lineman is quick and athletic for a man his size, while possessing very good lateral movement.
Greco, though an excellent technician and good teammate is at a disadvantage due to his lack of lateral movement. Bitonio, assuming he stays healthy, should win the starting spot in this position battle at LG, fending off a determined but undermanned effort from Greco.
As you may recall, Bitonio was the guy I really projected as a perfect fit with tremendous upside for the Browns at the time of the draft. I believe the Browns, like Yoenis Cespedes, hit a home run with this kid!
Projected LG Starter = Joel Bitonio
LG Depth = John Greco, Paul McQuistan
Another offensive line battle will take place at RG. Greco will be in competition with Paul McQuistan, a seven year veteran from the Seattle Seahawks and Garrett Gilkey, a Browns draft selection in the 2013 draft.
This position battle could be one of, if not the most interesting battles in the Browns camp setting. Both Greco and McQuistan bring experience, fundamental technique, and the versatility to play along the line.
Both veterans are capable of stepping into the starting line-up.
In Gilkey, you get a young, hungry player which possesses a nasty streak and much better than anticipated agility, new offensive line coach Andy Moeller will LOVE these qualities!!
Moeller comes from Baltimore, where the culture had been that you fire off the ball with a purpose and don’t stop until after a whistle, or your *** is on the bench. Gilkey’s mean streak, ability to move laterally, surprising quickness, and technical ability make him a player that could surprise all. He’s like a lion on the back of an elephant who will no doubt find the pulse and attack your jugular.
This positional battle could go down to the wire. We may just see one of the candidates grasp the role early and run away with the starting nod.
This battle will definitely be one worth watching, but I believe the combination of Gilkey and Bitonio inserted into the starting line-up is one that will bring a new demeanor to the Browns offensive line.
Projected RG Starter = Garrett Gilkey
RG Depth = John Greco, Paul McQuistan
LT - Joe Thomas
LG - Joel Bitonio
C - Alex Mack
RG - Garrett Gilkey
RT - Mitchell Schwartz