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Greco to start at left guard

Posted Oct 19, 2012

John Greco will start at left guard for the Browns in Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Fifth-year NFL veteran John Greco will start left guard when the Cleveland Browns head to Lucas Oil Stadium to face the Indianapolis Colts Sunday.

Greco replaces Jason Pinkston, who missed practice all week with what coach Pat Shurmur revealed to be a blood clot. Since joining the team two years ago, Greco has been one of the Browns’ primary reserve offensive linemen, with NFL experience at tackle, guard and center.

“I’m used to it now,” Greco said of playing multiple positions. “I’ve been doing it for a couple years and that’s the beauty of this business. You’ve got to be ready to play everywhere as a backup. Now, it’s my calling to step in and do what I’ve got to do. I could play tackle if I needed to. I understand the assignments of each position. It’s just a little bit different, technique and footwork-wise.

“You’ve got to be ready and don’t give anyone an excuse, if you’re not ready, to get rid of you. That’s the way I look at it. With the center position, once you know one position, you know them all. I just approach each week to be ready wherever.”

Pinkston started in last week’s 34-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, but Greco finished the game after Pinkston left the contest with an illness.

“It was nice getting out there last week and helping the team get a good win, but the focus is on Indianapolis this week,” Greco said. “They’re a solid football team, a really good defense, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Up until last Sunday, Pinkston had not missed a snap in his first 20 starts in the NFL. Originally a tackle in college, Pinkston switched to guard and started when veteran Eric Steinbach was lost for the 2011 season due to a back injury.

Pinkston came into training camp this year in better shape and committed to using better nutrition to improve himself.

“Jason’s been doing a good job,” Shurmur said. “He’s been battling, and this is one of those things that happens. Hopefully, he can come back from it. Anytime you do things in the offseason to get your body in better condition, more powerful and stronger, I think it helps you play our sport.”

Greco echoed Shurmur’s statements and called Pinkston a “good friend.”

“My thoughts are with him and we’re going to do everything we can to try and get him some wins,” Greco said. “I tried to build his spirits up a little bit. We really don’t know a whole lot of details, but we want to let him know that we’re with him.”

ROAD-WARRIOR MENTALITY

The Browns will play their fourth road game of the regular season and third in the last four weeks on Sunday and will face a Colts team that is 2-1 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis has defeated the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, and suffered a one-score loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at home this year.

“When we go on the road to play, most teams play a little bit better at home,” Shurmur said. “We’re aware of the fact that they play well at home and they’re a strong opponent regardless of where we play them. When you’re a team that plays on the road, you’ve got to develop the mentality that you’ll play wherever, whenever and do what you have to do to get a victory.”

RUNNING THE BALL

In their 35-9 loss at the New York Jets last week, the Colts surrendered 252 rushing yards, including 171 yards and three touchdowns to Shonn Greene. In relief of Greene, Joe McKnight rushed for 71 yards on three carries.

On the year, the Colts have given up and average of 159.0 rushing yards per game.

“You factor that in when you play an opponent, what they’re good at,” Shurmur said. “I think teams across the board can stop the run on an individual, one-game basis extremely well. Then, there are teams that if they’re going to play you to throw the football, then, they’ll try to defend you. Those statistics from week-to-week, you don’t put too much into. When you play a team, it’s a one-game basis. We’ve got to go in there and try to do what we think is best, running and throwing, and try to out-execute the opponent.”

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