Controlling the line of scrimmage and limiting the impact an opponent has at the point of attack are keys to running a successful play on offense or neutralizing a running game while one’s defense is on the field.
During the 2012 NFL Draft, the Browns addressed both sides of the line when they selected offensive linemen
“I think he’s very intelligent,” Shurmur said of Schwartz. “He’s very technically sound. He’s a big-bodied guy, but he responds well, at least it seems like it, to some of the speed rushes we’ve seen from our guys. I think he understands the concepts pretty well and it’s showing up in his play.”
Shurmur added that Miller is “doing a nice job.”
“He’s like all young players, Mitchell included,” Shurmur said. “He’s grinding to learn the system and put it in play out here. I think he’s done a nice job. He’s getting better each day.”
While watching the offensive linemen, Shurmur has had an opportunity to see how Hughes and Winn are doing at the defensive tackle positions. Hughes and Winn have had more of an opportunity to show what they can do due to the loss of second-year tackle Phil Taylor to a pectoral injury.
Although Taylor is expected to return at some point during the 2012 season, he will be out of the rotation for the foreseeable future.
“I think those guys are competing to be one of our defensive tackles and that’s why we drafted them,” Shurmur said. “The way we play our guys, I think we like what (Ahtyba) Rubin’s done and where he’s at. We’ll do whatever we can not to disrupt him and fill in accordingly.”
“I think there’s a young group of defensive linemen,” Shurmur said. “With (Rucker) and Juqua Parker, I think we added two veteran guys and anytime you add veteran guys that have been there and done that, I think that helps. It’s good.”
Rucker came to the Browns from the Cincinnati Bengals, where he registered 44 total tackles and four sacks in their rotation last fall. He was one of the first free-agent signings by the Browns this offseason and expressed a desire to compete during his introductory conference call with the Cleveland media in April.
“I see initial quickness,” Shurmur said. “I think he’s a guy that can rush the passer and he’s got good size. When he’s out here playing, he’s bigger than you might think, so that’s good. He can stand in there against the run and I’ve noticed a veteran presence about him, just the way he goes about his business. From the meetings to the practice field, I see a presence there that will help this room.”