In their preseason opener last week against the Saints, the Browns gave veteran left tackle Joe Thomas the night off. In his place was “versatile” third-year lineman Cam Erving.
That’s right. The player who failed miserably at center last year and has been at best serviceable in backup duty at guard was asked to protect starter Brock Osweiler’s blind side in that game. The results? Well they weren’t pretty.
The fall-on-your-butt technique is never a good one for an offensive lineman. And sadly, no matter where Erving lines up on the field, this keeps happening. This on top of multiple false starts, holds and looking lost on several plays.
This would be understandable considering this was one of his first opportunities playing the left tackle position. But it’s not the first time he has looked this lost on the football field before.
And take a look at this laughable mismatch of Erving against No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett. This should be a mismatch for sure, but Erving proves to be no barrier to Garrett’s path to the quarterback.
Presumably, Thomas will start the rest of the preseason, relegating Erving to backup status once again. But the question is why is the team letting him still take up a roster spot?
This is Erving’s third year. Issues like footwork, balance, strength, penalties should have been worked out by now. He has shown no improvement from his rookie season until now. Versatility only works if a player is competent at most positions and Erving is not close to competent at virtually any position.
Is coach Hue Jackson really willing to have Erving out there in the next few preseason games trying to protect Kessler or Kizer? Even against backups, I do not like those odds.
If the Browns could get a conditional 7th round pick for Erving, they should thank their lucky stars and take the deal. Otherwise, just cut him before the roster is set at the end of the preseason. The front office could probably pluck just about anyone who doesn’t make the cut from other teams and odds are they would be at least as competent, if not more, than Erving most days.