Change is coming in Cleveland.
Browns offensive tackle Greg Robinson confirmed on Friday what had been assumed all week that he will be heading to the bench as the team shakes up its offensive line in search of a new combination that can protect quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Robinson, however, would not confirm who would be taking his spot.
Mayfield has been sacked 16 times this season — the 10th most in the league — and hit 22 times as the Browns have stumbled into the bye week at 2-4.
“Talent’s not the issue here,” head coach Freddie Kitchens said. “We need to play better and we need to coach better. Once we do that, these questions won’t come up.”
Greg Robinson Has Had Uneven Season for Browns
But top of the sacks, Mayfield has simply looked extremely uncomfortable in the pocket and has forced some throws that have resulted in his league-leading 11 interceptions. Just look at this play from the Seahawks game where Robinson is simple bullied to the ground.
Robinson is ranked as the 43rd-best tackle, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s given up only one sack this season, and two hits. Robinson has never excelled in pass protection, but is a solid run-blocker and is part of the front-five in the trenches for the Browns that has helped Nick Chubb be the second leading rushing in the NFL (607 yards) and propel Cleveland into the top half of rushing yards per game (119.8) as a team.
He has been called for five penalties and he was ejected in the team’s season-opener against the Titans for kicking safety Kenny Vacarro in the head. Robinson said it was inadvertent.
Browns Have Hinted at Movement up Front; Justin McRay Likely to Get a Shot
Last week when he was asked about change possibly coming to the Browns offensive line, Cleveland general manager John Dorsey said: “That’s coming down the road.”
Dorsey later expanded on that claim.
“We’ll do what’s best for the Cleveland Browns organization. We’ll make a million phone calls,” he said. “What I’d like to do is constantly work the phones and do some research. Whatever happens, happens. If nothing happens, you move on and move on to the next project.”
A trade has not materialized — yet — so the Browns will have to look internally for a solution. Of the three backups, Justin McCray has seen a small amount of time at tackle in 2017 with Green Bay, but Kendall Lamm would be an obvious choice to fill in. Lamm has been the primary backup tackle, but was injured in the Browns opener. He returned to action last week. Lamm has 24 starts in his career, including 13 for the Houston Texans a year ago.
McCray also seems like he’s in the running for a shot, just from comments made from head coach Freddie Kitchens.
“Justin’s very versatile. He can go in and play all five spots. He even snapped the ball some today,” Kitchens said. “If he were to go out there at (left) tackle I’d have total confidence in him.”