The Browns have been dealing with some injury issues, but today was the first official domino to fall as the Browns reported that giant left guard Eric Steinbach had back surgery. Granted, I have major concerns about Brandon Jackson when the Browns say “turf toe” because that is one of those injuries that has a tendency to linger for a very long time. Josh Cribbs didn’t have turf toe a year ago, but you saw how he was bothered by his toe injury all year long last year. Even those two things pale in comparison to the Browns trying to replace Eric Steinbach.
The Browns pretty well tipped their hand yesterday to the Eric Steinbach situation when they claimed Oniel Cousins off of waivers yesterday. It also makes their trade for John Greco to look that much more prudent. The Browns also have fifth round draft choice Jason Pinkston available, and it appears that he will get the first crack at the job.
It might be surprising that the Browns would choose 23-year old Jason Pinkston. Shawn Lauvao is slated to be the Browns’ right guard this season, but he was a third round pick and we saw him struggle his way through his rookie season a year ago. Every player is different and it is a fact that Pat Shurmur was very complimentary of Jason Pinkston and his potential long before Eric Steinbach’s injury was even an issue. That being said, his confidence that Pinkston can be a real NFL player down the road is far different than saying he is ready to take over for Steinbach today protecting Colt McCoy and opening holes for Peyton Hillis.
Either way, it seems that the Browns will be going young. John Greco is 26, Oniel Cousins is 27, and Jason Pinkston is 23. This is, of course, assuming that the Browns don’t go out and sign a veteran out of free agency or off another team’s cut list as the march toward the regular season concludes. Anything is possible, I guess, but it would sure be a surprise to me if the Browns went that route considering the moves they have made most recently.