Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson announced on Wednesday that Brock Osweiler will start at quarterback versus the New York Giants on Monday in the second preseason game, but the team also announced some other major news regarding who will be protecting him. The team revealed guard Joel Bitonio and tackle Cameron Erving would both miss the game versus the New York Giants with injury. In place of Bitonio, Jackson said that veteran John Greco would fill in at left guard. Left tackle Joe Thomas was slated to sit out for the second straight preseason game, meaning Erving would have been starting at left tackle. So with Thomas and Erving out, the Browns will turn to rookie Rod Johnson to start at left tackle.
In response to the severity of these two injuries, Jackson stated that, “…they are going to be week-to-week. We will see where they are and hopefully, we get them back as soon as we can… But I don’t think it is anything major that is going to keep them out a ton of time.” He was then asked if they would be ready for the regular season, Jackson answered, “I hope so. I mean, I hope to have them then. But again, we just never know medically how these things work. But I think we are right in that window where we have an opportunity to have them both back and ready to go and I feel good about that. We will see how that goes.”
The injury to Bitonio is particularly troublesome. In his brief career with the Browns, the talented lineman has missed large stretches of games because of numerous injuries. Last season, Bitonio missed the final 11 games with a foot injury. He is currently hampered with what the team has deemed to be a knee injury, so the news of yet another injury to the talented left guard stokes some early nerves about his ability to stay healthy for an entire season.
This offseason Bitonio signed a contract extension with the Browns, making him a big part of the future, but he cannot be a part of the future if he continues to fight injuries and miss major time.
Cameron Erving’s injury is just another tough blow for the former first round pick. His career has been a mess thus far to say the least. He struggled mightily at center, which led the Browns coaching staff to move him outside to the right tackle spot. He struggled in the first preseason game versus the Saints and this injury just adds more difficulty to a player who needs as much playing time as possible to try and get better.
There is some bright news on the injury front, however. Rookie tight end David Njoku is expected to play on Monday after missing the team’s first preseason game last week. We finally get to see the talented tight end in real game action.