The Cleveland Browns lost their seventh game of the season, falling to the Tennessee Titans 12-9. But, the bigger loss may have come in the third quarter. Browns left tackle Joe Thomas left the game with an injury, ending his consecutive snap streak and his 2017 season.
The loss of Thomas leaves a gaping hole on the left side of the offensive line. In place of Thomas, the Browns went with Spencer Drango as the blindside blocker. Drango looks to be the starting left tackle going forward as of now.
So, what can the Browns expect from their new left tackle? In my opinion, I believe Spencer Drango was adequate and OK in replacing Thomas against the Titans. In this week’s Browns film room, I take a look at Drango’s performance versus the Titans and illustrate what the positives and negatives are in Drango’s game. So with that, lets roll the tape.
Spencer Drango is not the quickest or most fluid of athletes, but he has solid movement skills to be able to compete against the athletic rushers in the league. The above clip shows a glimpse of his movement skills. In this play action pass, Drango is designed to roll to the right and block the inside defensive lineman, Jurrell Casey. Drango does an incredible job of mirroring Casey. Drango is able to roll inside before Casey is able to get past him and then continue to shuffle his feet from one direction to another to stay in front of the defensive lineman. The Browns left tackle showed that he is able to move his body well enough to be in position to block. His movement skills help him in the run game the most. He is able to move to the second level or pull on run plays. Though, he does not have great fluidity in his hips, his feet are good enough to make up from it and stay in position to make a block. He showed throughout the game that he was able to move around and get in position to make solid block attempts.
Drango makes up for his lack of fluid athleticism and elite talent by being a battler. The play above shows this quality. In the play, he is going up against edge rusher Brian Orakpo. Drango’s biggest weakness popped up in this play, as Orakpo was able to blow through Drango. The Browns offensive tackle lost his anchor and was moved right back into the quarterback’s lap. But, Drango did not give up on the play. He continued to battle and was able to recover just in time to for Browns quarterback Cody Kessler to go underneath and roll out of the pocket. Drango was able to catch Orakpo right before he was about to go for the sack. Drango stopped the momentum Orakpo was making against him and push just enough to the back of the pocket to allow Kessler to get away. Drango is a player who is not physically gifted, but has the effort level and resilience to battle and not give up on a play even when he is initially beat. He showed multiple instances where he won the battle after losing the initial moments of the play.
Drango showed good awareness on the field throughout his performance versus the Titans. In the play above, he was faced with a twist stunt by the Titans pass rush. He first faced with edge rusher Erik Walden. Walden crosses the face of Drango and tries to rush through the interior of the line. As Walden passes by, Brian Orakpo comes from the other side of the line to try and get around the left edge. But, Drango shows his excellent awareness by quickly picking up Orakpo and not allowing the edge rusher to get around the edge. Drango has to switch from one defender to another. He does it flawlessly. Throughout the game, Drango showed good awareness to know who he needed to block to get his job done.
Drango has his weaknesses and one of those is his propensity to lean into his blocks. In the play above, Drango is up against Brian Orakpo again on the edge. The Browns left tackle fires out of his stance and is able to slow Orakpo down initially. But, Drango then begins to lean into his block with his lower half being behind his upper body. Now leaning into the block, Orakpo is able to take advantage because it is much harder for Drango to shuffle his feet while he was leaning into the block. Orakpo was able to get around the edge and a clear path to the quarterback. Drango got lucky because Kessler left the pocket by the time Orakpo became free. Drango pushed Orakpo to the ground once Kessler was gone from the pocket. Drango showed throughout the Titans game that he tends to lean on blocks, which hurts his balance to remain on blocks. He also can miss blocks because of his want to lean into the blocks.
Another weakness in Drango’s game is his ability to stay anchored with a strong base. In the play above, Drango is once again faced with the pass rushing prowess of Brian Orakpo. Orakpo comes out of his stance and immediately attacks Drango with a bull rush. Drango is completely dominated and pushed into the lap of the quarterback. Luckily, Kessler had already let go of the ball before Orakpo was able to take him down. Drango allowed the bull rush because his base got narrow and his feet got tangled, allowing Orakpo to push him off balance into the quarterback. Drango struggled quite a bit with his ability to hold a strong anchor and hold up against bull rushes. He had multiple instances where his base was not strong enough to initially withstand the power of a pass rusher, causing him to get pushed back into the backfield.
Highlight of the Week
The highlight of the week for the Titans game was kicker Zane Gonzalez. Against the Titans, he made all three of his field goal attempts, a 31-yard, 47-yard and 54-yard field goal. His last kick, a 54-yard field goal, tied the game up and sent the game into overtime. The rookie kicker has rebounded from his early season struggles and showed this past week why the Browns spent a draft pick on him.
Lowlight of the Week
The lowlight of the week for the Titans game was the turnovers and penalties that killed the Browns chances of winning the game. The Browns turned the ball over three times and committed 12 penalties for 81 yards against Tennessee. The Browns continue to commit self-inflicted wounds that derail their chances of winning their first game of the season. The team is so undisciplined and cannot get out of its own way.
Joe Gilbert’s 2017 Season Film Rooms