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Fitting in well: Cousins, Gilkey impress

Posted Aug 26, 2013

Cleveland Browns offensive linemen Oniel Cousins and Garrett Gilkey have made the transition to guard and drawn positive reviews from Coach Rob Chudzinski and quarterback Brandon Weeden.

When offensive guards Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao went down with ankle injuries during the preseason and training camp, respectively, the Cleveland Browns turned to a pair of former tackles, Oniel Cousins and Garrett Gilkey, to block at right guard.

Gilkey, a rookie from Chadron State College, filled in during the first half of the Browns’ win over the Detroit Lions two weeks ago, and Cousins, a five-year NFL veteran, started at right guard at the Indianapolis Colts last Saturday.

“I thought Oniel did a good job going in there and playing,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “He hasn’t played a lot of it. He has played some, but for not having done much of it through the course of training camp, and really, he’s still coming back from his injury, he’s adjusting in a couple different ways.

“Garrett played and got a significant amount of snaps, some with the ones and then, some with the twos. I think he responded. I feel like Garrett’s getting better every week, and we just need to continue to make progress. I’ve been comforted by Oniel’s performance in the game and Gilkey’s development.”

One of the things Chudzinski liked best from Cousins was his physical approach to the game.

“He gives us a physical presence,” Chudzinski said. “He’s one of our more physical guys, and he played hard. Assignment-wise, he was pretty solid. There were some technique things that we need to continue to work on, and him playing in there, being used to combination blocks and playing next to the guys he’s playing next to. Just getting used to that, we need to keep working there. I was pleased with him.”

Although the Browns have suffered injuries and rotated both Cousins and Gilkey into the starting lineup, quarterback Brandon Weeden has been able to complete 30 of 50 pass attempts for 334 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. He has not been sacked in any of the Browns’ three preseason games.

“Those guys have played great through three games,” Weeden said. “Oniel and Gilkey both split some time the other night, and I thought both of them played well.

“Oniel, he’s normally a tackle, so he’s making a change, but I thought the transition over has been great for him. He’s good when he pulls and does things in the passing game. He’s just a physical presence that has played and been in this league for a while. He kind of knows how to handle it.”