July 30, 2014

2011 Holmgren Report: Offensive Line

Last year we thought we’d introduce ourselves to Mike Holmgren by offering a report of each position group. The reports contained a ‘Roster Upgrade Advisory System’ not unlike that of homeland security. This year, even though the big show has been around for a year, and has Tom Heckert in house, we thought we’d give the reports another shot. First up- the Offensive Line.

Right out of the gate these reports are difficult because of the great uncertainty surrounding the league. Add to that the extremely high number of players that are free agents, and you have a red hot mess.

Evaluating 2010.

If you had to list a team strength, offensive line might be near the top of that list. It may just be by default, or because of Thomas and Mack’s inclusion on the Pro Bowl roster. Whatever the case, an offensive line is only as good as it’s weakest link, and wow do the Browns have a weakness on the right side of the line.

The Browns finished the season with a 4.0 yards per carry average on the ground, which placed them 21st in the league in that category. That stat may be a bit deceiving. Over the last third of the season it could be argued that Cleveland’s opponents dared the Browns to try and pass by stacking the box in an effort to shut down a very banged up Peyton Hillis.

The instability on the right side of the line was partially a product of player rotation due to injuries. Pashos, Lauvao, Womack and St. Clair all missed time with various injuries. Tony Pashos was signed with the expectation of winning that right tackle spot, providing depth and security. Instead he was injured in camp and spent hardly any time on the field at all.

Rookie guard Shawn Lauvao looked great in camp and preseason, but was hurt right before the start of the regular season and struggled a bit once he finally got a chance to play. With an off-season to work out and another camp’s worth of work he could easily vie for a starting spot however.

Under Contract.

Shawn Lauvao, Alex Mack, Pat Murray, Tony Pashos, Eric Steinbach, Joe Thomas and Steve Vallos.

Floyd Womack is a free agent. John St. Clair has already been sent packing. (On a personal note, I don’t know what to do if I can’t call anyone ‘the Turnstile’ anymore.) If healthy, the right side of the line might have been Lauvao and Pashos even if Womack and St. Clair would have been brought back. Womack still has value, but it is more likely that he moves on seeking a starting job and money. Which leaves us with very little depth.

The most important signing the Browns could make on the O-line in the offseason would be to extend Joe Thomas. He is a franchise left tackle, and the Browns do not want to get into a bidding war next year for him. They obviously need to add depth, which they will do. It would be wise to sign or draft an eventual replacement for Eric Steinbach, who is really expensive for the production he gives.

Browns Roster Upgrade Advisory Level- Guarded

I’d love to have Pro-Bowlers at every position along the line. It just isn’t feasible. Pashos and Lauvao will be better this coming season than what we had last year. Of course the Browns need to add depth, but so does everyone else with this record number of free agents.

With all the holes on this team, the offensive line is the least of their worries. Sign Thomas.

  • Jake

    Sign JT long term, draft a day 3 product for the right side and maybe pickup a potential RT. maybe Ryan Harris? A guy who is good but has had injuries and bad coaching hold him back. He is young and can play when on the field. Plus, the last time we acquired a McDaniels cast off it worked out really well.

  • Lyon

    Sign Thomas and add depth… we’ve all seen you can’t have too many options on the line.

    Agree on Steinbach. He’s a good player, but I feel like his production could be replaced for a much lower cost.

  • bobby

    I would like to still get another viable option for starting RT. A 3rd or 4th round pick or a vet in FA who needs a new start.. someone who has potential to push for a starting job rather than a clear back-up. Billy Yates wouldnt be a bad guy to bring back again. But, in the grand scheme of the team, it is by far our biggest area of need.

  • bobby

    it is by far NOT*

  • b

    get a RT higher, it’s just as important as a LT especially with a QB on the move like McCoy. Green Bay is starting a 1st rounder (Bulaga) at RT with a well-established LT, just a solid ass line

  • Shemp

    The issue with these guys on the right side is one of durability. They have a history of getting dinged up. We don’t have the depth to replace starting linemen with anything close to reasonable grade. So, instead of listing the guys we have, focus on the number of games they’ll actually participate in before you need to go to the backup guy. A fragile lineman is about as valuable as an aging lineman. Neither one is worth much salary.

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