Mastering any offensive line position is a hard enough [url=][/url] , but getting there and then being asked to transition to left tackle, easily the hardest and most important spot on the line, is a tall and complicated task.The Dawgs By Nature staff reached out to Football Outsiders to help figure out which elite guards have successfully made the change to left tackle that Joel Bitonio is currently undergoing. We found out that there have been two primary examples of this kind of transition occurring in the not-so-distant past.First was New York Giants lineman David Diehl. Drafted 160th overall out of Illinois in 2003 as a versatile offensive lineman after playing guard his senior season in Champaign, Diehl didn’t take much time to surpass expectations following his 5th round draft selection. After starting every game for the G-men during his rookie season, Diehl was moved everywhere on their offensive line during his 11 seasons with the team. Like Bitonio he started at guard—but on the right side—moved to right tackle in his sophomore season, transitioned to left guard for the next two seasons, and then made the transition to left tackle in 2007. The Giants won their first of two Super Bowls that year with him at left tackle. He also started at left tackle in every game in 2011, the year the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI.Diehl was appreciated by his team during his 11-year career for his selflessness, work ethic and leadership. “When I think of David Diehl what comes to mind is his indomitable spirit,” coach Tom Coughlin said, following Diehl’s retirement in 2014. “He got the most out of his God-given ability and that’s the best way that you can judge any individual. What more can you ask of the guy?’’It’s obvious that his method of approaching the game made his multiple position changes not only possible, but vastly successful. Diehl finished his career with just one Pro Bowl appearance in 2009, but his impact was felt by the results he was able to help the Giants achieve during his tenure in New York.The next example of this atypical transition was made by Los Angeles Rams, and former Cincinnati Bengal Andrew Whitworth. Whitworth was a prototypical left tackle who started every game he played in from his redshirt freshman season until the Bengals drafted him 55th overall in 2006 with hopes he’d be their left tackle of the future. Although, there were some pre-draft concerns about his fit as an elite left tackle in the NFL. Nonetheless, Whitworth started at left tackle during his rookie season in 2006, but was moved to left guard from 2007 to 2009 before transitioning back to left tackle. Cincinnati again moved him back to guard in 2013 to cover up for injuries on their line, and he was moved there yet again in 2016.During his NFL career, despite the brief detours to the guard position, Whitworth dispelled any kinds of doubts about his fit at left tackle. At 36—he turns 37 in December—he’s still going. Whitworth earned NFL Top 100 honors entering the 2018 season, as voted on by his peers, finishing at No. 87, just one season after being ranked Pro Football Focus’ 36th-best player in the NFL, for his play at left tackle.Now, unlike Diehl, Bitonio was a left tackle at Nevada. He had the experience at the position, but there were also some concerns about his fit at left tackle at the NFL level, which had similar echoes to Whitworth’s pre-draft scouting reports. Bitonio was pegged as a guard prospect in multiple projections, and the Browns seemed to agree as he played there in his initial four seasons in the league. But like the others who have made the transition, Bitonio has the pedigree [url=]Youth Genard Avery Jersey[/url] , the size and the experience to successfully pull off the switch to starting NFL left tackle.Bitonio also expressed the same kind of selfless attitude Diehl rolled with while playing Swiss Army Knife for the Giants for so many years.“(Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson wants to put the best five offensive lineman on the field, and right now, he thinks that is with me at left tackle,” Bitonio said after being notified of the switch. “I am going to try and be the best left tackle I can be, and if something happens to where I have to go play left guard again, then I will try to be ready for that, as well. “It is just what is going to help our team win the most games.”Will Bitonio’s story end in multiple Super Bowls for himself and the Browns, along with some minor accolades accrued along the way? The Browns may not see him as a long-term fix for their left tackle position in the post-Joe Thomas world, but he could potentially finish his career like Whitworth, consistently finishing among the most respected left tackles in the game.The truth probably lies somewhere in between.Either way, the Browns and their fans will be thrilled if he can make the transition and protect the quarterback better than Shon Coleman or Spencer Drango were able to accomplish since Thomas’ departure.Then again, that bar is very, very low.You can pick up the 2018 Football Outsiders Almanac here. For the Browns, winning the season opener over Pittsburgh could bring closure.The end of a 17-game losing streak. The first opening-week victory since 2004. More relief from the haunting memories of an 0-16 season. A new beginning for a franchise and fan base that has suffered far too long.Rarely has a first game felt some important. Beyond big."Whew," Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon said as he considered the multi-layered impact of beating the Steelers. "That's the equivalent of making the playoffs here, almost a Super Bowl win. It's something we've been wanting for a long time."It's been five years since Gordon played in an opener, and his return after being sidelined for years by personal demons may best symbolize Cleveland's rebirth.The Browns believe they're back.When they take the field at FirstEnergy Stadium to face their hated rival, the Browns will have 31 new players — including new quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry — on a roster demolished over the past few months by general manager John Dorsey and his staff. Dorsey was the mastermind of a similar rebuilding project in Kansas City, and he's in the early stages of pushing Cleveland back to relevance.The Browns, so accustomed to drama, seem to be coming together. The Steelers, one of the NFL's standards of consistency, aren't themselves.Pittsburgh will likely be without star running back Le'Veon Bell, holding out in a contract dispute that triggered teammates to turn on him earlier this week."Honestly it's a little selfish," said center Maurkice Pouncey. "I'm kind of (ticked) right now. It sucks that he's not here. We'll move on as a team."Bell returned from a lengthy absence last season in time to play in the opener at Cleveland, but he was mostly ineffective and ran for 32 yards on 10 carries in Pittsburgh's 21-18 win.The Browns were without dynamic defensive end Myles Garrett that day because of injury, and the second-year defensive end is positive he would have made a difference in the outcome.Garrett's healthy and the 2017 No. 1 overall pick knows what a win for the Browns could bring."It'd be an eye opener for the rest of the league," he said.WEAK 1: The last time the Browns won an opener, Jeff Garcia was their starting quarterback, one of 29 for the team since 1999.Cleveland's last opening win came in 2004 over Baltimore [url=][/url] , and the first-week losses since have set the tone for so many losing seasons. Coach Hue Jackson tried to downplay the magnitude of Sunday's matchup while appreciating its enormity."I am not going to say it is the Super Bowl," he said. "The Super Bowl is in February, but it is a huge game for us. It is our division rival. It is an AFC North game, so it really counts as two. We all recognize that, and we want to get to winning as fast as we can, but it is a 16-game season and we get that, too."THIS BUD'S FOR YOU: The Steelers got 16 of their franchise-record and NFL-leading 57 sacks last season against Cleveland. Still, that didn't stop them from flipping outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree in the offseason hoping to produce more pressure off the edge. Pittsburgh picked up Dupree's fifth-year option for 2019 and moved him to the quarterback's blind side."What Bud did too much of last year, in my opinion, was he got past the quarterback," defensive coordinator Keith Butler said. "To me, you're useless when you're past the quarterback and trying to rush the quarterback. Now, he won't be as useless behind the quarterback because he can work back a little bit, or he can go up and under where the quarterback won't see him."TAYLOR'S TURN: Taylor helped Buffalo snap a 17-year playoff drought in Buffalo last season. His first goal in Cleveland? One win.Despite drafting Baker Mayfield with No. 1 overall pick, the Browns are starting Taylor while the Heisman Trophy winner develops."He's a capable quarterback," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "His mobility and decision making are excellent. Anytime that you have anybody under center who brings those two components of mobility, things that you are able to do schematically and things that he is able to create form an ad lib prospective, and you couple that with decision making, that it is a weapon."OLD FRIENDS: Todd Haley's on the other side of the Steelers-Browns rivalry.After six seasons with Pittsburgh, Haley is running Cleveland's offense. Although he's not making this matchup personal, the Browns know he wants to show the Steelers what they're missing."It would mean the world to him," Jackson said. "We all want it. We all want it for him."FICHTNER'S FLAVOR: Randy Fichtner spent more than a decade as the quarterbacks coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator when Pittsburgh opted to let Haley's contract expire. The 54-year-old hasn't altered the playbook much, but he's expected to give quarterback Ben Roethlisberger more freedom to run the no-huddle offense."I think a lot of it depends on how the game is going, the flow of the game," said Roethlisberger, who is 21-2 in starts against Cleveland. "We don't want to force anything, but sometimes you have to try to mix it up and throw some different wrinkles at them." [url=]Custom Houston Texans Jerseys[/url]

Last edited by liny195 on 01 January, 1970 05:30 AM

Post Reply