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Off-Season Position Analysis

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Browns 2020 position preview: Guards and centers

The virtual work is complete and training camp will be here sooner than we know it.

From now until then, we're going to devote some time to the different position groups that dot the Browns' roster. There's been plenty of change since the Browns last took the field, and we're examining all of it with an eye toward the 2020 season.

We're continuing with a position group that features a perennial Pro Bowler, a reliable center and a big opportunity at right guard.



Check out photos of the guards and centers the Browns will be bringing into training camp

What we know: The Browns are rock solid at left guard and center. Bitonio has proven to be one of the league's best at his position and has played a pivotal, stabilizing role on the left side while Cleveland has shuffled through a number of different left tackles since Joe Thomas' retirement. Tretter, who has been very busy this offseason as the president of the NFL Players Association, hasn't missed a game since he signed with the Browns in 2017 and will be the man in the middle for years to come after signing a contract extension near the end of last season. For the second straight year, though, the Browns have a big opening at right guard entering training camp. Last year's competition wasn't resolved until the very end and didn't produce an every-game starter. Veteran Eric Kush emerged as the most reliable option but ceded his duties to Teller, who was acquired in a trade with the Bills near the end of the preseason, for the second half of the year. Teller was solid and showed improvement, but he'll need to prove to be the best option in what promises to be an open competition when camp opens.

What we don't know: Last year's competition at right guard dragged until the very end of the preseason, a non-ideal result for a position group that thrives on chemistry and repetitions with each other. That was in a traditional training camp setting. This year, of course, promises to look much different after the lack of on-field work during the spring. How quickly the Browns find a starting option among its pool of right guards will be important because every snap before the start of the regular season will truly matter. As for the competitors, Teller is perceived as the favorite because of the experience he acquired as a starter last season, but a player such as Forbes shouldn't be overlooked. How the former sixth-round pick looks in his second NFL season could go a long way toward determining the outcome. Forbes was coming on strong near the end of last year's preseason before a knee injury short-circuited most of his rookie season.

The X-Factor: Harris - The fifth-round selection out of Washington is pegged as the likeliest backup option to Tretter, but that shouldn't discount his importance. Though the Browns believe Harris is best suited as a center in the NFL, he's proven before he can hold his own as a guard. That's where he played during his first two seasons with the Huskies, after all. Because of this versatility, Harris could emerge as a valuable sixth man on the unit in the event Cleveland loses one of its starters at the interior positions. Of course, having someone on the bench capable as a center is huge in its own right, and Harris will, at the minimum, provide that as a rookie.

The biggest number: 3,201 - That's how many snaps Bitonio and Tretter have played over the past three seasons without coming off the field. Neither player has lined up next to someone different since Tretter signed with the Browns in 2017.

Says it all: "You can understand from a book and paper perspective, but once you get on the field and bullets start flying and you are ready to roll so from that perspective, it will be interesting to see. It might take a couple weeks to get up to speed in that sense, but if you get your six weeks of training camp, I think you are going to have plenty of time to get the plays in and an understanding of the offense. I know we have a good foundation set, and we still have a few more weeks of this offseason program to keep building on that." — Bitonio

How many were kept on the initial 53-man roster last year?: 7

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